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29.10.2018 | Original Article Open Access

Imaging cardiac innervation in hereditary transthyretin (ATTRm) amyloidosis: A marker for neuropathy or cardiomyopathy in case of heart failure?

Journal of Nuclear Cardiology
BSc Daphne L. Jonker, MD, PhD Bouke P. C. Hazenberg, MD, PhD Hans L. A. Nienhuis, MD, PhD Riemer H. J. A. Slart, MD, PhD Andor W. J. M. Glaudemans, MD, PhD Walter Noordzij
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s12350-018-01477-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
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Nuclear imaging modalities using 123Iodine-metaiodobenzylguanidine (123I-MIBG) and bone seeking tracers identify early cardiac involvement in ATTRm amyloidosis patients. However, little is known whether results from 123I-MIBG scintigraphy actually correlate to markers for either cardiac autonomic neuropathy or cardiomyopathy.


All TTR mutation carriers and ATTRm patients who underwent both 123I-MIBG and 99mTechnetium-hydroxymethylene diphosphonate (99mTc-HDP) scintigraphy were included. Cardiomyopathy was defined as NT-proBNP > 365 ng/L, and cardiac autonomic neuropathy as abnormal cardiovascular reflexes at autonomic function tests. Late 123I-MIBG heart-to-mediastinum ratio (HMR) < 2.0 or wash-out > 20%, and any cardiac 99mTc-HDP uptake were considered as abnormal.


39 patients (13 carriers and 26 ATTRm patients) were included in this study. Patients with cardiomyopathy, with or without cardiac autonomic neuropathy, had lower late HMR than similar patients without cardiomyopathy [median 1.1 (range 1.0-1.5) and 1.5(1.2-2.6) vs 2.4 (1.4-3.8) and 2.5 (1.5-3.7), respectively, P < 0.001]. Late HMR and wash-out (inversely) correlated with NT-proBNP r = − 0.652 (P < 0.001) and r = 0.756 (P < 0.001), respectively. Furthermore, late HMR and wash-out (inversely) correlated with cardiac 99mTc-HDP uptake r = − 0.663 (P < 0.001) and r = 0.617 (P < 0.001), respectively.


In case of heart failure, 123I-MIBG scintigraphy reflects cardiomyopathy rather than cardiac autonomic neuropathy in ATTRm patients and TTR mutation carriers. 123I-MIBG scintigraphy may already be abnormal before any cardiac bone tracer uptake is visible.

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