Lingual liability: Macroglossia and dyspnoea as the harbinger of systemic AL (light-chain) cardiac amyloidosis

Michael Uncle Williams*, Caroline E. Murphy, Rosco Steven Gore, Emilio Fentanes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


A 58-year-old man presented with a chief complaint of tongue indentations and discomfort. Otolaryngology treated him for oral thrush with counselling to avoid tongue biting. In addition, the patient reported dyspnoea described as a decrease in tolerance of his physical activities. Due to continued increase in tongue size and worsening dyspnoea, he underwent a tissue biopsy with findings consistent with amyloidosis. Further evaluation with a bone marrow biopsy revealed underlying multiple myeloma. Echocardiography revealed abnormal ventricular wall thickness, with a reduced left ventricular chamber size, dilated atria and Doppler findings with restrictive filling patterns indicative of cardiac amyloidosis. The patient was initiated on chemotherapy for his multiple myeloma and supportive therapy for his cardiac amyloidosis. Light-chain amyloidosis (AL) is a systemic disease characterised by irreversible deposition of amyloid in tissues throughout the body; when there is cardiac involvement, it can result in heart failure with a poor prognosis. Early diagnosis of cardiac amyloidosis can lead to prolonged survival.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere225923
JournalBMJ Case Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • cardiovascular medicine
  • medical education
  • oncology
  • ophthalmology
  • otolaryngology / ENT


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