Amyloidosis is a rare and serious disease that occurs when an abnormal protein (amyloid) builds up in certain organs, including the kidneys, liver, spleen, heart, nervous system or digestive tract. Amyloidosis can prevent organs from functioning properly and lead to organ failure. 
There are several types of amyloidosis, including:

  • AL (Light Chain): Most common and caused by plasma cells in the bone marrow
  • AA (Serum A Protein or SAA): Reaction to an infection or inflammation
  • ATTR (Transthyretin or TTR protein): Caused by a genetic mutation

Amyloidosis at UK Markey Cancer Center

Because amyloidosis can affect different organs, it requires a wide-ranging team of experts. The Amyloidosis Program at Markey offers personalized care and treatment plans and includes specialists in:

  • Blood disorders
  • Digestive disorders
  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Lung disease
  • Neurology

Amyloidosis is a complex condition. You may not experience any symptoms in the early stages of the condition. Some symptoms may be mistaken for another condition. Amyloidosis can cause a variety of symptoms, depending on which part of the body is affected:

  • General symptoms:
    • Fatigue or weakness
    • Bruising
    • Carpal tunnel syndrome 
    • Joint pain
  • Heart:
    • Shortness of breath
    • Irregular heartbeat
    • Low blood pressure
  • Kidneys:
    • Fluid buildup in legs (edema)
    • Foamy urine
  • Digestive tract:
    • Nausea
    • Diarrhea or constipation
    • Loss of appetite
    • Unexpected weight loss

While there is no cure for amyloidosis, some people can go into remission with effective treatment. Survival rates mostly depend on the type of amyloidosis. The median survival for AL amyloidosis without treatment is 13 months. The median survival for AA amyloidosis may be about 133 months. 

Survival rates for amyloidosis also depend on:

  • How early a diagnosis is made 
  • If the heart is affected
  • How well someone responds to treatment
  • Age: Most people are diagnosed after age 50.
  • Gender: More men are diagnosed with amyloidosis.
  • Race: People of African descent are more likely to have cardiac amyloidosis.
  • Heredity: ATTR amyloidosis is caused by a genetic mutation.
  • Kidney dialysis: Dialysis can lead to a buildup of abnormal proteins.
  • For your first visit, you will be directed to the Hematology and Blood & Marrow Transplant clinic.
  • You can register at the front desk, where a receptionist will help guide you through your appointment.
  • Several parking options are available to patients of Markey Cancer Center.
  • Please remember to bring your patient packet with the completed forms. These items will help your doctor learn more about your case and determine the best plan for your care.
  • UK HealthCare accepts many forms of insurance
NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center - A Cancer Center Designated by the National Cancer Institute

Markey Cancer Center is designated by the National Cancer Institute as a Comprehensive Cancer Center – a distinction that recognizes our commitment to accelerating precision cancer research and care to patients. We are the first and only NCI-Comprehensive Cancer Center in Kentucky, and one of 57 in the nation.