Purpose: To review the management of gastrointestinal symptoms in patients with hereditary transthyretin amyloidosis, discussing diagnostic evaluations, assessment of disease progression and therapeutic strategies that could be implemented in routine practice. Methods: Literature review. Key search terms included “gastrointestinal symptoms”, “autonomic neuropathy”, “hereditary transthyretin amyloidosis” and “familial amyloid polyneuropathy”. Results: Gastrointestinal disturbances are a common and serious manifestation of hereditary transthyretin amyloidosis, with significant effects on patients' quality of life and demonstrating a strong association with mortality. Gastrointestinal involvement is more often subclinical in the early stages of the disease, although in some patients gastric and/or bowel abnormalities may be the inaugural symptoms. In both cases, under-recognition, delayed investigation and suboptimal treatment frequently occur. A clear understanding of the mechanisms underlying gastrointestinal dysfunction in hereditary transthyretin amyloidosis is still lacking, but similar to diabetic enteropathy, multiple pathophysiological alterations seem to play a role. Conclusions: Early detection and treatment of gastrointestinal disturbances is key to the successful treatment of this devastating disease. Gastroenterologists play a valuable role in both the diagnosis and the timely management of gastrointestinal symptoms in hereditary transthyretin amyloidosis and should, therefore, be part of a multidisciplinary and comprehensive approach to this disorder.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
- Clinical Neurology