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J Clin Pathol. 2005 May;58(5):546-7.

Primary antibody deficiency and diagnostic delay.

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  • 1Department of Immunology, Clinical Sciences Building, Hope Hospital, Stott Lane, Salford M6 8HD, UK.



To assess the occurrence of diagnostic delay in primary antibody deficiency in the period 1989-2002, since a similar study in 1989, and to assess the impact of UK national guidelines communicated in 1995.


A retrospective case note review was performed of 89 consecutive patients with antibody deficiency referred to a regional referral centre for clinical immunology in north west England and north Wales. The delay in diagnosis and the estimated resulting morbidity in terms of infections were assessed.


Fifty six of the 89 patients experienced delay in diagnosis. The overall median delay was 2 years (mean, 4.4), resulting in substantial morbidity (equivalent to two major infections and one minor infection). This shows a moderate improvement since the previous study in 1989 and since the introduction of UK national guidelines in 1995. Respiratory infections are the most frequent presenting infections, and respiratory physicians the most common source of referral.


There is still considerable delay in the diagnosis of primary antibody deficiency, but the data suggest an improvement in practice since the previous study in 1989 and the distribution of national guidelines in 1995.

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