BACKGROUND: The diagnosis of cardiac amyloidosis (CA) is challenging owing to vague symptomatology and non-specific echocardiographic findings. OBJECTIVE: To describe regional patterns in longitudinal strain (LS) using two-dimensional speckle-tracking echocardiography in CA and to test the hypothesis that regional differences would help differentiate CA from other causes of increased left ventricular (LV) wall thickness. METHODS AND RESULTS: 55 consecutive patients with CA were compared with 30 control patients with LV hypertrophy (n=15 with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, n=15 with aortic stenosis). A relative apical LS of 1.0, defined using the equation (average apical LS/(average basal LS + mid-LS)), was sensitive (93%) and specific (82%) in differentiating CA from controls (area under the curve 0.94). In a logistic regression multivariate analysis, relative apical LS was the only parameter predictive of CA (p=0.004). CONCLUSIONS: CA is characterised by regional variations in LS from base to apex. A relative 'apical sparing' pattern of LS is an easily recognisable, accurate and reproducible method of differentiating CA from other causes of LV hypertrophy.