How can you tell if you or someone you love might have transthyretin amyloid cardiomyopathy (ATTR-CM)?

Initial tests

Your cardiologist may order the following tests to assess how your heart is working and look for signs that may suggest ATTR-CM:

Electrocardiogram or ECG

  • Reads electrical signals from your heart through wires or electrical sensing leads attached to the skin with sticker-like patches. ECG findings associated with ATTR-CM include, but are not limited to, an irregular heartbeat (ie, atrial fibrillation) or a bundle branch block preventing electrical impulses from making your heart beat efficiently.

Cardiac Imaging

  • Echocardiogram (ECHO): Uses sound waves captured through a hand-held wand that is placed on your chest to create two- and three-dimensional images of the heart. Echocardiogram findings help determine the speed and direction of blood flow in the heart. Findings associated with ATTR-CM include, but are not limited to, heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, also known as HFpEF, which relates to the amount of blood that passes through the heart with each beat.
  • Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): Uses radio waves, magnets and a computer to create detailed images of your heart. A Cardiac MRI is considered a painless, yet sensitive and specific diagnostic tool that helps identify transthyretin amyloidosis and light chain amyloidosis. However, it is currently unknown whether MRI has the capability to distinguish between amyloid types.

These tests are not typically used to confirm an ATTR-CM diagnosis, though they help your doctor understand more about your heart and if ATTR-CM may be considered as a cause of your symptoms.