Cardiac amyloidosis in African Americans: comparison of clinical and laboratory features of transthyretin V122I amyloidosis and immunoglobulin light chain amyloidosis

Lawreen H Connors, Tatiana Prokaeva, Amareth Lim, Roger Théberge, Rodney H Falk, Gheorghe Doros, Alan Berg, Catherine E Costello, Carl O'Hara, David C Seldin, Martha Skinner
American Heart Journal 2009, 158 (4): 607-14

BACKGROUND: Transthyretin (TTR) mutations known to cause cardiac amyloidosis include V122I, found almost exclusively in African Americans at a prevalence of 3-3.9%. This retrospective study describes TTR V122I-associated cardiac amyloid disease (ATTR) in a major amyloid referral clinic population.

METHODS: Self-identified African Americans with amyloidosis (n = 156) were screened for TTR V122I by serum isoelectric focusing; mutant TTR was confirmed by DNA sequencing or mass spectrometry. Cardiac findings in ATTR V122I and immunoglobulin light chain (AL) amyloidoses were compared.

RESULTS: TTR V122I was identified in 36/156 (23.1%) of evaluated patients and included 5 homozygotes; the allele frequency was 0.013. One compound heterozygote (F44L/V122I) and 4 patients who had AL and the mutant TTR allele were characterized. In patients negative for V122I, AL was the most frequent diagnosis (86/120). Cardiomyopathy was present in 100% of patients with ATTR and 84% of patients with AL (P = .01). In patients with dominant cardiac involvement, better survival occurred in ATTR (n = 30) compared to AL (n = 31), (27 vs 5 months, P < .01) although the mean age in ATTR was higher (70.3 vs 56.2 years, P < .01). Congestive heart failure symptoms and electrocardiographic findings were similar in ATTR and AL, but significant differences in echocardiographic measurements were observed.

CONCLUSIONS: ATTR V122I and AL are equally prevalent as the cause of cardiomyopathy in African Americans referred for a diagnosis of amyloidosis. Available therapy for AL underscores the need for early and accurate determination of amyloid type.

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