Researchers reported that semi-structured interviews conducted by an occupational therapist can provide patients with hereditary transthyretin amyloidosis (hATTR) the important information they need to live with the disease, according to a study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 

“The limitations in daily activities faced by [hATTR] patients in all stages of the disease—although to a greater extent in advanced stages (III, IV)—have been described as difficulties impairing personal independence in self-care skills and self-determination,” the authors of the study wrote. 

The job of an occupational therapist is therefore to help patients maintain, develop, and improve their performance of activities of daily living. In addition, occupational therapists promote occupational health and safety, which contribute to the overall well-being of the patient. 

To understand the impact that occupational therapy has had on patients with this disease, the research team conducted semi-structured interviews with adult patients with hATTR. These interviews were mainly structured around open-ended answers to encourage respondents to give in-depth answers. The participants of the study were then assessed for their physical activity and mental health. 

Read more about hereditary transthyretin amyloidosis etiology 

The research team was able to recruit 44 patients for the study. The findings revealed that participants suffered on multiple fronts—physical, psychological, and occupational. Around one-half of the patients interviewed agreed that the disease has had an effect on their ability to carry out basic activities of living. This inevitably means falling behind in school/work. 

“These findings suggest that a semi-structured interview conducted by an occupational therapist can provide essential information that should be considered for the implementation of occupational therapy programs targeting patients living with a diagnosis of [hATTR],” the authors concluded. 

hATTR is a heterogeneous disease that is driven by the pathological accumulation of unstable transthyretin proteins. The most common signs and symptoms of the disease are neuropathy (both sensory and motor), cardiomyopathy, ocular problems, and gastrointestinal issues. 


Gayà-Barroso A, González-Moreno J, Rodríguez A, et al. Establishing occupational therapy needs: a semi-structured interview with hereditary transthyretin amyloidosis patientsInt J Environ Res Public Health. 2022;19(18):11721. doi:10.3390/ijerph191811721