Background: Cardiac amyloidosis (CA) has been associated with poor outcomes. Screening studies suggest that CA is overlooked-especially in the elderly. Recent advances in treatment have brought attention to the disease, but data on temporal changes in CA epidemiology are sparse.
Objectives: The aim of this work was to describe all patients with CA in Denmark, examining changes in patient characteristics from 1998 to 2017.
Methods: All patients with any form of amyloidosis diagnosed from 1998 to 2017, as well as their comorbidities and pharmacotherapy, were identified in Danish nationwide registries. CA was defined as any diagnosis code for amyloidosis combined with a diagnosis code for heart failure, cardiomyopathy, or atrial fibrillation or a procedural code for pacemaker implantation, regardless of the order. The index date was defined as the date of meeting those criteria. Patients were divided into 5-year periods by index date. For comparison, we also included control subjects (1:4 ratio) from the general population.
Results: CA criteria were met by 619 patients. Comparing 1998-2002 vs 2013-2017, the median age at baseline increased from 67.4 years (interquartile range [IQR]: 53.9-75.2 years) to 72.3 years (IQR: 66.0-79.3 years). The frequency of male patients increased from 62.1% to 66.2%. The incidence of CA rose from 0.88 to 3.56 per 100,000 person-years in the Danish population aged ≥65 years, and the 2-year mortality decreased from 82.6% (IQR: 69.9%-90.5%) to 50.2% (IQR: 43.1%-56.9%). Compared with control subjects, the mortality among CA patients was significantly higher (log-rank test: P < 0.0001).
Conclusions: CA, as defined in this study, was increasingly diagnosed on a national scale. The increasing frequency of male patients and median age suggest that wild-type transthyretin amyloidosis is driving this increase. Greater recognition of earlier, less advanced cases might explain decreasing mortality.