Common Variable Immunodeficiency (CVID) is an antibody deficiency that leaves the immune system unable to defend against bacteria and viruses, resulting in recurrent and often severe infections.
The exact cause and genetic inheritance pattern of CVID is unknown in most cases. Both males and females are affected. It is one of the most common forms of primary immunodeficiency disease (PIDD), and the severity of symptoms varies from one person with the disease to another.
CVID can be associated with autoimmune disorders that affect other blood cells causing low numbers of white cells or platelets, anemia, arthritis and other conditions.
People with CVID are also at an increased risk for certain cancers.
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CVID Symptoms & Diagnosis
CVID can be diagnosed anytime from childhood through adulthood.
As with other antibody deficiencies, the most common types of recurrent infections involve the ears, sinuses, nose, bronchi and lungs. These include:
• Ear infections
• Gastrointestinal infections
Recurrent pneumonia and chronic infections in the lungs can lead to lung damage called bronchiectasis, which can complicate treatment.
CVID may be suspected in children or adults with a history of recurrent infections involving the lungs, bronchi, ears or sinuses.
An accurate diagnosis can be made through screening tests that measure immunoglobulin levels or the number of B cells in the blood.
CVID Treatment & Management
CVID is treated with immunoglobulin replacement therapy (IRT), which most often relieves symptoms. IRT treatments must be given regularly and are life-long.
Antibiotics are used to treat most infections that result from CVID though patients may need treatment for a longer duration than a healthy individual.
To learn more about PIDDs visit the Immune Deficiency Foundation website.