Previous studies have shown that 3% to 4% of African Americans carry an amyloidogenic allele of the human serum protein transthyretin (TTR V122I). The allele appears to have an absolute anatomic risk for cardiac amyloid deposition after 65 years of age. In this study, a case-control comparison was performed of clinical, echocardiographic, and electrocardiographic characteristics of 23 age at risk carriers of the amyloidogenic allele and 46 age-, gender-, and ethnically matched noncarriers being evaluated for cardiac disease using standard clinical testing. The 2 groups were matched for blood pressure and the cardiac ejection fraction. None of the subjects had a prestudy diagnosis of cardiac amyloidosis. Carriers of the amyloidogenic allele were found to have statistically significant increases in the occurrence of many of the echocardiographic features of cardiac amyloidosis relative to the noncarriers and a higher frequency of congestive heart failure and atrial fibrillation. The observations suggest that TTR V122I represents a substantial risk for clinically significant cardiac amyloidosis in elderly African American men, behaving as an age-dependent autosomal dominant disease-associated allele. The diagnosis is difficult to make but can be suspected in African Americans aged >60 years on the basis of age, echocardiographic evidence of diastolic dysfunction, and interventricular septal thickening, even in the absence of more recently available sophisticated echocardiographic techniques for evaluating long-axis function and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging. Positive results for the amyloidogenic TTR V122I allele support the diagnosis and define the origin of the disease, which can be confirmed by endomyocardial biopsy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine