Familial Amyloidosis: A Study of 52 North American-Born Patients Examined During a 30-Year Period

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Between 1961 and 1990, 52 patients with biopsy-proven familial amyloidosis born in North America were examined at the Mayo Clinic. At the time of diagnosis of familial amyloidosis, 83% of these patients had peripheral neuropathy, 33% had autonomic neuropathy, and 27% had cardiomyopathy. Renal disease was noted in fewer than 10%, and liver involvement was rare. The median age at diagnosis was 64 years. The sensitivity of various diagnostic biopsies was similar to that for primary amyloidosis: deposits of amyloid were found in 77 and 78% of the subcutaneous fat aspirates or rectal biopsy specimens, respectively, and in 41% of specimens of bone marrow. The median duration of survival of 5.8 years for patients with inherited amyloidosis was superior to that for patients with primary amyloidosis. When patients were stratified by organ involvement, the survival of patients with familial amyloidosis remained superior. The presence of cardiomyopathy and an interactive variable of age and the presence of autonomic neuropathy were powerful predictors of survival. Of the 52 patients, 22 died, 12 (55%) of cardiac failure or cardiac arrhythmia. Nine patients (41%) died of inanition in conjunction with progressive peripheral or autonomic neuropathy. Transthyretin was identified by immunohistochemical studies in 31 of the 34 tissue specimens tested. A transthyretin mutation was identified in 24 of the 31. A transthyretin mutation was found in five additional patients for whom tissue was unavailable for immunostaining

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)428-440
Number of pages13
JournalMayo Clinic proceedings
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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