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An early diagnosis of transthyretin amyloidosis (ATTR) is key for managing the disease and preventing costly complications. One study suggests that cardiovascular symptoms and increased hospitalizations are a potential way to identify the disease early.

Transthyretin amyloidosis (ATTR) is a progressive condition characterized by the buildup of amyloid in the organs and tissues. It can lead to the development of heart, kidney, and gastrointestinal dysfunction, which can cause various symptoms. In addition, variation in the development and timing of symptoms can make diagnosis difficult. However, cardiovascular manifestations, such as cardiomyopathy and heart failure, are common in patients with ATTR.

A recent study evaluated the clinical characteristics of ATTR and the frequency of hospital and ER visits in the three years leading up to a diagnosis. The retrospective, descriptive analysis was conducted on data retrieved from a Medicare claims database. Patients aged 68 or older with ATTR were included in the study. Patients with ATTR were matched 1:1 to patients without ATTR based on sex, age, and region.

Researchers identified 552 matched ATTR-control pairs with an average age of 78 and a majority of patients being male (65%). Cardiovascular conditions and hospitalizations were found to be more frequent in patients with ATTR than in matched controls during the three years leading up to an ATTR diagnosis.

Cardiovascular symptoms are common in the early stages of disease in Medicare patients. A delayed diagnosis can lead to worsened symptoms and outcomes in patients with ATTR, leading to increased utilization of healthcare services. Therefore, healthcare providers are encouraged to aim to diagnose ATTR early to prevent complications and reduce the burden of this disease. An early diagnosis of the disease can help pave the way for the appropriate interventions, such as improved access to disease-modifying treatments.

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Nativi-Nicolau, J., Fine, N. M., Ortiz-Pérez, J. T., Brown, D., Vera-Llonch, M., Reddy, S. R., Chang, E., & Tarbox, M. H. (2022). Clinical manifestations and healthcare utilization before diagnosis of transthyretin amyloidosis. J Comp Eff Res, 11(14), 1031-1044. https://doi.org/10.2217/cer-2022-0074