Right ventricular function in AL amyloidosis: characteristics and prognostic implication

Eur Heart J Cardiovasc Imaging. 2012 May;13(5):416-22. doi: 10.1093/ejechocard/jer289. Epub 2011 Dec 16.


Aim: The importance of right ventricle (RV) dysfunction in AL amyloidosis has been underestimated. This study was designed to comprehensively evaluate RV function and its prognostic role in patients with AL amyloidosis with and without echocardiographic evidence of cardiac involvement.

Method and results: Fifty-two biopsy-proven AL amyloidosis patients underwent a thorough echocardiographic evaluation. Twenty-seven patients (CA) met the international echocardiographic criteria for cardiac involvement [left ventricular (LV) wall thickness ≥ 12 mm] and 25 patients had no cardiac amyloidosis features (NCA). Patients were compared with a sex- age-matched control group. Patients and controls underwent traditional, tissue Doppler (TDI), speckle-tracking left and RV echocardiographic evaluation. No difference was observed between groups in RV diastolic diameter, whereas CA patients showed increased RV free wall thickness (P< 0.0001). Compared with controls and NCA patients, traditional echocardiography, TDI, and speckle-tracking evaluation detected significantly (P< 0.0001) depressed RV longitudinal systolic function in CA patients. No difference was observed between groups at Doppler diastolic evaluation, whereas at tricuspidal annulus TDI analysis, CA subject showed significantly lower E' and A' values with increased E/E' ratio (P< 0.0001). Over a 19 months median follow-up period, 18 patients died. Cox multivariate analysis showed that N-terminal pro-Brain natriuretic peptide and RV longitudinal strain were the strongest death predictor.

Conclusion: Our data show that in patients with AL amyloidosis, RV involvement develops later than LV amyloid deposition but when it occurs, prognosis dramatically worsens. Moreover RV longitudinal strain was the only echocardiographic predictor of prognosis. We suggest that RV function analysis should be performed routinely as a part of echocardiographic evaluation in these patients.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Amyloidosis / complications
  • Amyloidosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Amyloidosis / pathology*
  • Biomarkers
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Heart Ventricles / diagnostic imaging
  • Heart Ventricles / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Prognosis
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • ROC Curve
  • Ultrasonography
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Right / diagnostic imaging
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Right / etiology
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Right / pathology*
  • Ventricular Function, Right*


  • Biomarkers