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  1. Scharnweber, Krisha BSN, CRNI


The primary function of alpha1-antitrypsin is to protect the alveoli in the lung from harmful destruction from proteolytic enzymes, which prevent optimal elastic recoil of the lungs and destroy the lungs. Insufficient serum levels of alpha1-antitrypsin eventually lead to early onset of emphysema in the third, fourth, or fifth decade of life. Treatment of alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency by intravenous administration of an enzyme inhibitor known as alpha1-proteinase inhibitor,a human-derived blood product, can be administered to help replace the enzymes required to maintain lung function. Early detection, nursing intervention, and clinical management slow the progression of this hereditary disease.