Congo red screening of tissue blocks from 37 consecutive autopsies on leprosy patients revealed 7 cases of systemic amyloidosis, indicating a prevalence rate of 19%. 5 were males and 2 females. All were ethnic Chinese. Their ages ranged from 52 to 85 years with a mean of 69 years. Six had lepromatous leprosy while the remaining 1 had tuberculoid leprosy. In all 7 cases, the amyloid was AA in type, being permanganate-sensitive and immunoreactive with anti-human AA protein antiserum. Hepatic deposition was limited to blood vessels, a pattern typical of AA (secondary) amyloidosis. With regard to renal involvement, 4 showed a predominantly vascular pattern of infiltration while 3 exhibited the more ominous glomerular pattern. Three died of chronic renal failure and 2 of congestive cardiac failure attributable to renal and cardiac amyloidosis respectively. One patient succumbed to septicaemia and the remaining 1 to acute myocardial infarction. AA amyloidosis remains a serious and significant complication of leprosy among Malaysians.
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