Nuclear Medicine Test Offers Less Invasive Alternative to Biopsy for Cardiac Amyloidosis

Continuing our acknowledgement of American Heart Month, this article sheds light on one of the many non-invasive tests offered by Lake Medical Imaging.

Lake Medical Imaging now offers Nuclear Medicine imaging with technetium-99m pyrophosphate (Tc99m-PYP) for the diagnosis of cardiac transthyretin ATTR amyloidosis. As new treatment options for cardiac amyloidosis emerge, the scan is a viable noninvasive alternative to performing a heart tissue (endomyocardial) biopsy. Clinical trials reveal promising possibilities for treatment of the under-recognized condition, previously believed to be rare and untreatable.

Cardiac transthyretin (ATTR) amyloidosis is caused by amyloid deposits made up of the TTR protein and light-chain (AL) amyloidosis, an acquired plasma cell disorder.

Previously, there were no treatment options for patients with ATTR amyloidosis. Also, there were risks with endomyocardial biopsy performed to diagnose cardiac amyloid, so, when the disease was diagnosed, it was often in an advanced stage with a survival rate of only a few years.

With the emergence of Tc99m PYP imaging performed at Lake Medical Imaging and potential new therapies currently being developed, outcomes for patients could improve dramatically. Also, the risks to the patient associated with endomyocardial biopsy are nonexistent with the noninvasive scan.

The Stanford University Amyloid Center estimates that approximately 500,000 people in the U.S. have ATTR amyloidosis; however, as more screening protocols are developed, that number is projected to increase.

Radiologists and cardiologists agree that early diagnosis becomes vitally important now that potential treatment for the disease is available.