Amyloidosis is a rare disease in which insoluble extracellular protein fibrils in β-pleated sheets infiltrate multiple organs, causing organ dysfunction and failure. Amyloidoses are generally classified into light chain or primary systemic amyloidosis, hereditary amyloidosis (most commonly, transthyretin amyloidosis), senile systemic amyloidosis, secondary amyloidosis, and isolated atrial amyloidosis. At least 100 different amyloidogenic proteins have been identified in humans and can be differentiated by mass spectroscopy after laser capture microdissection and genetic testing. Organ involvement can include kidneys, skin, blood vessels, central and peripheral nervous systems, lungs, liver, intestines, and heart. Developments in noninvasive techniques are facilitating earlier and more accurate diagnosis. Management depends on the specific disease type, thus early and accurate diagnosis is imperative. Prognosis generally correlates with degree of cardiac involvement but varies widely with specific amyloid protein type. New treatment strategies involving chemotherapy and organ transplantation are improving survival, but prognosis is guarded.
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