Iodine-123 metaiodobenzylguanidine scintigraphic analysis of myocardial sympathetic innervation in patients with AL (primary) amyloidosis

Am Heart J. 2002 Jul;144(1):122-9. doi: 10.1067/mhj.2002.123115.


Background: Although a high incidence of myocardial adrenergic denervation has been reported in patients with familial amyloid polyneuropathy, assessment of cardiac sympathetic nerve function has not been available in patients with AL (primary) amyloidosis.

Methods: To test the hypothesis that myocardial sympathetic nerve innervation might be impaired and variable according to the presence or absence of clinical autonomic abnormalities and congestive heart failure in AL amyloidosis, we examined 25 patients by use of iodine-123 metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) scintigraphy.

Results: Ten of the 16 patients without autonomic symptoms and 5 of the 9 patients with autonomic neuropathy showed congestive heart failure. The heart/mediastinal activity (H/M) ratio (1.53 +/- 0.06 vs 1.29 +/- 0.05 at 3 hours, P <.001) and myocardial washout ratio (41.5% +/- 4.8% vs 30.8% +/- 4.0%, P <.001) of MIBG were significantly increased in patients without autonomic symptoms compared with patients showing autonomic neuropathy. In patient groups with and without autonomic dysfunction, patients demonstrating congestive heart failure exhibited a significantly decreased H/M ratio and increased washout compared with patients with no heart failure, and left ventricular fractional shortening was positively correlated with the H/M ratio and inversely correlated with the washout ratio. There were significant correlations between the low-frequency component of the heart rate variability and the H/M ratio and washout ratio in the entire patient population.

Conclusions: Patients with AL amyloidosis and no autonomic dysfunction showed variable degrees of enhanced cardiac adrenergic neuronal activity with presynaptic sympathetic dysfunction. In contrast, patients with AL amyloidosis and autonomic neuropathy exhibited prominent myocardial adrenergic denervation with normal or impaired sympathetic neural function of the heart. This study demonstrates that myocardial uptake and turnover of MIBG in patients with AL amyloidosis are heterogeneous and dependent on the presence or absence of congestive heart failure and cardiac autonomic dysfunction.

MeSH terms

  • 3-Iodobenzylguanidine*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Amyloid Neuropathies / complications
  • Amyloid Neuropathies / diagnostic imaging*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Autonomic Nervous System Diseases / complications
  • Autonomic Nervous System Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Female
  • Heart Diseases / complications
  • Heart Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Radiopharmaceuticals*
  • Sympathetic Nervous System / diagnostic imaging*


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • 3-Iodobenzylguanidine