Cardiac sarcoidosis can have a variety of manifestations including conduction disease, congestive heart failure, valvular heart disease, pericardial effusions, tamponade, ventricular arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death. In patients with sarcoidosis, the reported incidence of cardiac involvement ranges from 20% in US autopsy studies to nearly 60% in Japan, where it accounts for the majority of deaths as a result of sarcoidosis. Despite this, the diagnosis of cardiac sarcoidosis remains difficult and no single diagnostic test has emerged that combines a high degree of sensitivity and specificity. Recent evidence suggests that gadolinium-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging can potentially offer high sensitivity and specificity for both disease presence and activity. It may also be possible to track response to treatment of cardiac sarcoidosis with cardiac magnetic resonance imaging. Corticosteroids are the mainstay of treatment for cardiac sarcoidosis as with systemic sarcoid but at present no prospective trial has shown a survival benefit. Pharmacological treatment of heart failure should follow standard heart failure guidelines, whereas anti-arrhythmic treatment is problematic. The role of implantable cardiac defibrillators in sarcoid has not been well defined, although the risk of ventricular arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death are high. Cardiac transplantation remains an option for younger patients, although overall cardiac involvement in sarcoidosis carries a relatively poor prognosis.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Department of Cardiology, The Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Publication date: April 1, 2008