A deceptive case of amyloid myopathy: Clinical and magnetic resonance imaging features

Keith M. Hull, Lawrence S Griffith, Ralph W. Kuncl, Fredrick M. Wigley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Amyloid myopathy is a well-described, increasingly recognized clinical entity. Similar to inflammatory myopathies, amyloid myopathy presents with proximal muscle weakness and can be associated with elevated levels of muscle enzymes. We report the case of a 58-year-old woman who, at presentation to her physician with proximal muscle weakness and congestive heart failure, was antinuclear antibody positive and had muscle biopsy findings "consistent with inflammatory myopathy." She was referred to Johns Hopkins University Medical Center with the diagnosis of polymyositis. Further investigation revealed a monoclonal gammopathy, a unique patterning of subcutaneous fat reticulation and hypodense bone marrow changes on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and an endocardial biopsy sample that was positive for light chain amyloid deposition. Paraffin sections of the muscle biopsy sample from the time of her original presentation were obtained, and Congo red staining showed diffuse amyloid deposition throughout the sample, but no inflammation. This case not only illustrates that proximal muscle weakness due to primary amyloid myopathy (as found in light chain amyloidosis and transthyretin amyloidosis) can mimic that of polymyositis, but also shows that unique findings on MRI can alert the clinician to the diagnosis of amyloidosis prior to muscle biopsy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1954-1958
Number of pages5
JournalArthritis and rheumatism
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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