, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 123-128

Comparison of Gastroduodenal, Renal and Abdominal Fat Biopsies for Diagnosing Amyloidosis in Rheumatoid Arthritis

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The aim of the study was to determine the frequency of amyloidosis detected by gastroduodenal biopsy in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients, and to investigate correlations between the results of gastroduodenal biopsy and abdominal fat and renal biopsies. A total of consecutive 1006 RA patients underwent gastroduodenal biopsy. The 71 patients who tested positive for gastrointestinal (GI) amyloidosis were asked to undergo renal and abdominal fat biopsies, and 21 did so. Renal biopsies were also performed on 12 patients with no amyloidosis but indicators of drug-induced renal damage, and abdominal fat biopsies were performed on 50 RA patients with no indication of amyloidosis. The prevalence of GI amyloidosis was 7.1%. Urinary abnormalities and GI symptoms were common in GI amyloidisis, and inflammatory markers were elevated. Sixty-one (86%) had either depressed creatinine clearance or urinary symptoms. Nineteen of the 21 patients (91%) with GI amyloidosis who underwent renal biopsies also had renal amyloid deposits. Eleven of the 21 (52%) had amyloidosis on abdominal fat biopsy. None of the 12 patients without GI amyloidosis had renal amyloidosis on renal biopsy, and none of the 50 patients without GI amyloidosis had amyloidosis on abdominal fat biopsy. Gastroduodenal biopsy reveals a high prevalence of amyloidosis in RA patients. Amyloidosis is often associated with signs of renal impairment. Results of GI biopsy are highly correlated with those of renal biopsy, but the results of fat biopsy are not. We recommend GI biopsy for RA patients for the screening of systemic amyloidosis.

Received: 6 June 2001 / Accepted: 10 September 2001