Wild-type ATTR amyloidosis may be associated with unexpected death among the elderly

Leg Med (Tokyo). 2019 Nov:41:101634. doi: 10.1016/j.legalmed.2019.101634. Epub 2019 Oct 31.


Wild-type ATTR amyloidosis (ATTR-wt) is characterized by the accumulation of amyloid in the heart, leading to fatal heart failure and arrhythmia. In this study, we investigated the amyloid deposits in the heart from 556 forensic autopsy cases over 60 years of age. The prevalence of ATTR-wt was 5.8% (32 of the 556), with the prevalence increasing as a function of age. We identified an ATTR-wt-specific morbidity rate of 12.3% for patients over 80 years of age, while the prevalence among individuals over 90 years of age was 34.9%. In none of these 32 cases had a clinical diagnosis of ATTR-wt been made. In 29 of the 32 cases found to be ATTR-wt positive, an obvious extraneous cause of death was identified and included burning, drowning, hypothermia, suicide, and traffic accident. On the other hand, heart failure due to ATTR-wt was confirmed as the cause of death in 3 of the 32 cases. It is suggested that ATTR-wt may be associated with unexpected death among the elderly.

Keywords: Amyloidosis; Unexpected death; Wild type transthyretin.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Amyloidosis / diagnosis*
  • Amyloidosis / genetics
  • Cause of Death
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac / etiology*
  • Female
  • Forensic Pathology
  • Humans
  • Lung / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardium / pathology*
  • Organ Size
  • Plaque, Amyloid / pathology*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Prealbumin / genetics
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA


  • Prealbumin
  • TTR protein, human