What Is CVID?

Common Variable Immune Deficiency (CVID) is a frequently diagnosed immunodeficiency, especially in adults, characterized by low levels of serum immunoglobulins and antibodies, which causes an increased susceptibility to infection. While CVID is thought to be due to genetic defects, the exact cause of the disorder is unknown in the large majority of cases.

Overview of Common Variable Immune Deficiency

Compared to other human immune defects, CVID is a relatively frequent form of primary immunodeficiency, found in about 1 in 25,000 persons; this is the reason it is called “common.” The degree and type of deficiency of serum immunoglobulins, and the clinical course, varies from patient to patient, hence, the word “variable.” In some patients, there is a decrease in both IgG and IgA; in others, all three major types of immunoglobulins (IgG, IgA and IgM) are decreased. In still others there are defects of the T-cells, and this may also contribute to increased susceptibility to infections as well as autoimmunity, granulomata and tumors.

To be sure that CVID is the correct diagnosis, there must be evidence of a lack of functional antibodies and other possible causes of these immunologic abnormalities must be excluded. Frequent and/or unusual infections may first occur during early childhood, adolescence or adult life. Patients with CVID also have an increased incidence of autoimmune or inflammatory manifestations, granulomata and an increased susceptibility to cancer when compared to the general population. Sometimes it is the presence of one of these other conditions that prompts an evaluation for CVID.

The medical terms for absent or low blood immunoglobulins are agammaglobulinemia and hypogammaglobulinemia, respectively. Due to the late onset of symptoms and diagnosis, other names that have been used in the past include “acquired” agammaglobulinemia, “adult onset” agammaglobulinemia, or “late onset” hypogammaglobulinemia. The term “acquired immunodeficiency” refers to a syndrome caused by the AIDS virus (HIV) and should not be used for individuals with CVID, as these disorders are very different as you will see under the “CVID is mistaken for AIDS” tab above.

Excerpted from the IDF Patient & Family Handbook for Primary Immunodeficiency Diseases FIFTH EDITION.

18 comments on “What Is CVID?
  1. Michael Rhoades says:

    Hey there Bro,
    The site looks great so far! Proud of the work you are putting in.
    Thanks and keep up the great work

    Mike – AKA the Godfather

  2. Robert Finch Sr says:

    This is really cool Steve. I hope you have much success in getting the word out.

  3. Jessica Kelley says:

    Looks amazing. Thanks so much for sharing the page. I’m working on that letter I mentioned on Facebook. Maybe she will respond to it. This looks amazing you did awesome!!!


  4. Looks fantastic so far Steve!!! I’m super excited for you!!!

  5. Kathy Armstrong says:

    Thanks so much Steve! You rock! Great site!

  6. Ramona Martin says:

    Looks great!! Thanks for everything you are doing and I will help anyway I can!!

  7. Peggy McLean says:

    Thank you for all this info my 13 yo son just diagnosed with cvid very informative easy to read and understand

  8. Peggy McLean says:

    Thank you for all this info my 13 yo son just diagnosed with cvid very informative easy to read and understand

  9. Janice Schocke-Evans says:

    This is awesome Steve! Thank you for doing this.

  10. Jeremy Daniels says:

    Great site Steve!!! You are doing a great thing here. Keep up the good work and stay strong!!!

    – Jeremy

  11. purplegt says:

    Thank you brother!!! Hope you are good my friend

  12. Linda Stelling says:

    Looks super!! Proud to call you a zebra friend!

  13. michelle says:

    Great job!

  14. Debbi LoCascio says:

    Wow Steve, this is awesome! I can’t wait for my family and friends to see this – thank you.

  15. Beverly Clanton Carroll says:

    Thanks, Steve, for the great site & information.

  16. Shawn says:

    Good job I actually learned something about our disease

  17. Lisa Churinskas-Hulit says:

    Great job, Steve! Thank you for all you do for our Zebra community!

  18. Elizabeth Heimburger, M.D. says:

    Thank you for your work. This is a good basic description of ourZebra!

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