Primary systemic amyloidosis is a rare disease with protean manifestations. Presence of nephrotic syndrome in the absence of diabetes and hypertension, cardio-myopathy in the absence of isch-emia, restrictive cardiac defect, demyelinating polyneuropathy, or unexplained hepatomegaly should alert the physician to the possibility of amyloidosis. Initial steps in the diagnostic evaluation of patients with suspected amyloidosis include serum and urine immunoelectrophoresis and immunofixation studies. Demonstration of amyloid material on tissue biopsy (eg, subcutaneous fat) is required for diagnosis. Availability of effective treatments has improved the outlook of patients with primary systemic amyloidosis. Early diagnosis is critical to optimizing the chances of effective therapy.
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