• antithrombin;
  • prevalence of deficiency;
  • molecular variants;
  • blood donors


. In a cohort of 9669 blood donors we have identified 16 cases of congenital AT deficiency (1 in 600) by way of family studies and AT gene analysis. Two donors had type I AT deficiency (prevalence 0.21 per 1000; 95% CI = 0.03/1000 to 0.75/1000), their families displaying a symptomatic phenotype. 14 donors had a type II deficiency (prevalence 1.45 per 1000; 95% CI = 0.79/1000 to 2.43/1000): one recurring and three unique mutations. None of these type II deficiencies appeared to confer a high thrombotic risk despite many of the affected individuals having experienced potentially prothrombotic challenges. The high frequency of these relatively asymptomatic variants may reflect a selection bias in the study population. However, their existence should not only add to our understanding of structure-function relationships of AT but may also influence our management of asymptomatic deficient individuals identified in epidemiological or presurgical screening programmes.