Amyloid Scan Predicts Major Cardiac Events
Amyloid build-up—commonly talked about in relation to Alzheimer's disease—can be found throughout the body. An excessive accumulation of these insoluble proteins could cause a heart attack or even death. A new myocardial scintigraphy scan of amyloid in the heart could help diagnose the dangerous excessive accumulation of these insoluble proteins, according to French researchers.
Over time, amyloidosis of the heart can lead to hypertension, an enlarged heart, an abnormal heartbeat, and chronic heart failure. Imaging that can assess amyloid in the heart could prevent future heart attacks and potentially save lives.
The technique uses the radiotracer technetium-99m hydroxymethylene diphosphonate (Tc-99m HMDP) to detect cardiac amylyoidosis. The tracer is widely available and typically used to image bone.
"To our knowledge, this is the first study revealing the prognostic value of Tc-99m HMDP myocardial scintigraphy in patients with TTR [transthyretin] amyloidosis," says Axel Van Der Gucht, MD, lead author of the study and a nuclear medicine physician at Henri Mondor Hospital in Créteil, France. "Given the clinical, diagnostic, and therapeutic potential of Tc-99m HMDP myocardial scintigraphy based on these results, all patients with suspected cardiac amyloidosis should undergo a minimally invasive scan as a standard of clinical evaluation."
A total of 55 patients out of 121 evaluated for TTR amyloidosis were diagnosed and included in the study. All 55 participants underwent both whole-body and cardiac Tc-99m HMDP scintigraphy at 10 minutes and three hours after injection. The results showed that 47 out of 55 patients were positive for cardiac amyloidosis. Three main types of amyloidosis were assessed: monoclonal light chain, wild-type TTR (wt-TTR), and mutated TTR (m-TTR). Of the 47 patients diagnosed with amyloidosis, 21 had wt-TTR cardiac amyloidosis and 26 had m-TTR cardiac amyloidosis.
With further validation, this widely available molecular imaging procedure could become the standard of care for the evaluation of cardiac amyloidosis.