Hypogammaglobulinemia

Sammy has a condition where he does not make certain subclasses of antibodies (also called gamma globulins). It is called hypogammaglobulinemia. We didn't discover this until he was about five months old and had become infected with a yeast called Candida. We did so many tests as they were looking for some genetic cause for this deficiency. Those were very scary days - several possible diagnoses pointed to early death, retardation, dwarfism and of course, meant we shouldn't have any more children!

Sammy never fit any of the various genetic syndromes that were being volleyed our way. Then our wonderful Infectious Disease Pediatrican did some research which pointed to a diagnosis of "Transient Hypogammaglobulinemia of Infancy." It had an onset at three to six months, and recovery was expected to occur between 18 and 36 months of age, but it sometimes persisted up to the age of five. Premature infants were prone because they did not receive maternal IgG across the placenta. This was the best diagnosis we had heard so far and since Sammy was born many weeks more premature than the preemies from the various studies, it seemed likely that he might have the same immune problems. Tiller and Buckley (1978) reached the conclusion from their study that "finding only 11 cases of transient hypogammaglobulinemia of infancy among over 10,000 patients whose sera were sent for immunoglobulin studies over a 12-year period suggests that this is not a common entity." All we could do was wait to see if it resolved on its own. We hoped that this was indeed the correct diagnosis for his immunodeficiency and prayed that he would make a full recovery.

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