Characterization of Cardiac Amyloidosis by Atrial Late Gadolinium Enhancement Using Contrast-Enhanced Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Correlation With Left Atrial Conduit and Contractile Function

Am J Cardiol. 2015 Aug 15;116(4):622-9. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2015.05.021. Epub 2015 May 22.


The diagnosis of cardiac amyloidosis (CA) often necessitates invasive myocardial biopsy. We sought to evaluate whether late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) of the atrial myocardium by cardiac magnetic resonance imaging was associated with impaired left atrial (LA) function and whether the extent of LA LGE may enhance diagnostic differentiation of CA from other cardiomyopathies. Twenty-two patients with biopsy-proven CA, 37 with systemic hypertension (SH), and 22 with nonischemic dilated cardiomyopathy (NIDC) underwent cardiac magnetic resonance imaging and echocardiographic evaluation. Patients with CA had greater minimal LA volume (57 ± 53 vs 24 ± 18 in SH and 19 ± 25% in NIDC, p = 0.003), and significantly lower total LA emptying function (19 ± 14 vs 40 ± 14 in SH and 33 ± 20% in NIDC, p = 0.0006). The mean proportion of atrial enhancement (LGELA%) was significantly greater in patients with CA than with SH and NIDC (59 ± 36% vs 7.4 ± 2.1 and 2.9 ± 9.0%, p <0.0001, respectively). There was also a strong inverse correlation between both active and total atrial emptying (r = -0.69, p = 0.001; r = -0.67, p = 0.01, respectively) with LGELA% for patients with CA. In multivariate regression analysis, LGELA% was the strongest adjusted predictor for CA diagnosis. Using receiver operating characteristic analysis, LGELA% ≥33% produced the greatest diagnostic utility for CA (sensitivity 76%, specificity 94%). Patients with CA may have extensive LGE of the LA myocardium, which is associated with marked reduction in LA emptying function. The extent of LA LGE was highly predictive for the diagnosis of CA.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Amyloidosis / diagnosis*
  • Atrial Function, Left / physiology*
  • Cardiomyopathies / diagnosis*
  • Contrast Media*
  • Female
  • Gadolinium DTPA*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • ROC Curve


  • Contrast Media
  • Gadolinium DTPA