Non-invasive diagnosis of transthyretin cardiac amyloidosis utilizing typical late gadolinium enhancement pattern on cardiac magnetic resonance and light chains

Eur Heart J Cardiovasc Imaging. 2023 May 31;24(6):829-837. doi: 10.1093/ehjci/jeac249.


Aims: While cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) is often obtained early in the evaluation of suspected cardiac amyloidosis (CA), it currently cannot be utilized to differentiate immunoglobulin (AL) and transthyretin (ATTR) CA. We aimed to determine whether a novel CMR and light-chain biomarker-based algorithm could accurately diagnose ATTR-CA.

Methods and results: Patients with confirmed AL or ATTR-CA with typical late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) and Look-Locker pattern for CA on CMR were retrospectively identified at three academic medical centres. Comprehensive light-chain analysis including free light chains, serum, and urine electrophoresis/immunofixation was performed. The diagnostic accuracy of the typical CMR pattern for CA in combination with negative light chains for the diagnosis of ATTR-CA was determined both in the entire cohort and in the subset of patients with invasive tissue biopsy as the gold standard. A total of 147 patients (age 70 ± 11, 76% male, 51% black) were identified: 89 ATTR-CA and 58 AL-CA. Light-chain biomarkers were abnormal in 81 (55%) patients. Within the entire cohort, the sensitivity and specificity of a typical LGE and Look-Locker CMR pattern and negative light chains for ATTR-CA was 73 and 98%, respectively. Within the subset with biopsy-confirmed subtype, the CMR and light-chain algorithm were 69% sensitive and 98% specific.

Conclusion: The combination of a typical LGE and Look-Locker pattern on CMR with negative light chains is highly specific for ATTR-CA. The successful non-invasive diagnosis of ATTR-CA using CMR has the potential to reduce diagnostic and therapeutic delays and healthcare costs for many patients.

Keywords: cardiac amyloidosis; cardiac magnetic resonance; cardiomyopathy; heart failure with preserved ejection fraction; late gadolinium enhancement.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Amyloidosis* / diagnosis
  • Cardiomyopathies* / pathology
  • Contrast Media
  • Female
  • Gadolinium
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prealbumin
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Contrast Media
  • Gadolinium
  • Prealbumin