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Cardiac amyloidosis

  • Alternative Names

    Amyloidosis - cardiac; Primary cardiac amyloidosis - AL type; Secondary cardiac amyloidosis - AA type; Stiff heart syndrome; Senile amyloidosis

    • Excessive urination at night
    • Fatigue, reduced activity tolerance
    • Palpitations (sensation of feeling heart beat)
    • Shortness of breath with activity
    • Swelling of legs, ankles, or other part of the body (See: abdominal swelling)
    • Trouble breathing while lying down

    Some patients may have no symptoms.

    Signs and tests

    It can be difficult to diagnose cardiac amyloidosis, because the signs can be related to a number of different conditions.

    Signs may include:

    • Abnormal sounds in the lung (lung crackles) or a heart murmur
    • Blood pressure that is low or drops when you stand up
    • Enlarged neck veins
    • Swollen liver

    The following tests may be performed to help diagnose cardiac amyloidosis:

    • Chest or abdomen CT scan (this is considered the "gold standard")
    • Coronary angiography
    • Echocardiogram
    • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
    • Nuclear heart scans (MUGA, RNV)

    An ECG may show problems with the heart beat or heart signals (conduction disturbance).

    A cardiac biopsy is used to confirm the diagnosis. A biopsy of another area, such as the abdomen, kidney, or bone marrow, is often done to confirm the diagnosis.