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Survey of infection in patients receiving antibody replacement treatment for immune deficiency
  1. S J Pettit,
  2. H Bourne,
  3. G P Spickett
  1. Department of Immunology, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Queen Victoria Road, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4LP, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr G Spickett, Department of Immunology, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Queen Victoria Road, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4LP, UK;


Background:0 Primary antibody deficiency disorders are a heterogeneous group of disorders, which are treated by regular infusions of immunoglobulin. Despite replacement treatment, patients remain susceptible to infection. Effective management of infections is necessary to prevent the complications of chronic infection.

Aims: This retrospective survey of clinical practice examined the management of infections in patients who receive immunoglobulin replacement for immune deficiency.

Methods: Patients who received immunoglobulin replacement treatment in Newcastle during the year 2000 were identified. Medical records were reviewed. Basic clinical information and details of immunoglobulin replacement treatment were recorded. Episodes of infection were defined by documented symptoms, signs, or investigation results, and by the prescription of an antibiotic course. Details of episodes of infection and antimicrobial treatment were recorded.

Results: Thirty seven patients received immunoglobulin replacement during 2000. There were 101 episodes of infection. There was no correlation between the frequency of infection and the IgG trough value. Respiratory tract infections were most common (71 of 101). Where documented, 80% of infections were associated with clinical signs, 21% with pyrexia, and 64% with a raised C reactive protein value. Microbiological culture was performed in 30% of infections. Antimicrobial treatment was instituted along “best guess” lines in 99 of 101 episodes of infection.

Conclusions: Management of respiratory tract infections represents the largest problem in antibody deficient patients. Greater use of microbiological culture might allow more effective prescription of antimicrobial treatment. The generation of treatment guidelines and improved communication with general practitioners could improve the management of all episodes of infection.

  • infection
  • antibody deficiency
  • hypogammaglobulinaemia
  • CRP, C reactive protein
  • CVID, common variable immune deficiency
  • XLA, X linked agammaglobulinaemia
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