Predictors of cardiac sarcoidosis using commonly available cardiac studies

Am J Cardiol. 2013 Jul 15;112(2):280-5. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2013.03.027. Epub 2013 Apr 18.


Cardiac involvement affects ≤40% of patients with sarcoidosis and accounts for ≤25% of deaths. The diagnosis of cardiac sarcoidosis is challenging using the existing screening tests and often relies on expensive cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (cMRI) and cardiac 18-fluorodeoxuyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-cPET). We developed a scoring system using common clinical tests to predict positive imaging findings using cMRI or FDG-cPET. A retrospective chart review of subjects undergoing cMRI or FDG-cPET was performed. The data were extracted and scored using a predetermined system. Our cohort was predominantly white, with a mean age of 55 years, and 60% were women. The scoring system was compared with the findings from cMRI and FDG-cPET to determine the ability to predict the imaging results that define cardiac sarcoidosis. The scoring system for the patients who had undergone both FDG-cPET and cMRI suggested predictability, but the differences were not statistically significant. However, the positive results from just 1 study were as predictive as having positive findings from both studies. A 1-point increase in the total score increased the probability of positive findings from cMRI or FDG-cPET by 14% (95% confidence interval 3% to 25% increase; p = 0.01). The scoring system seemed to be driven more by the findings from cMRI than by those from FDG-cPET. In patients who had undergone cMRI alone, for each 1-point increase in the total score, the probability of positive cMRI findings increased 11% (95% confidence interval 1% decrease to 25% increase, p = 0.08). All screening modalities were analyzed. No modality was sensitive or specific, although major findings (defined in our scoring system) were most predictive of positive imaging findings. In conclusion, commonly available cardiac screening tools used together in a composite score provide reasonable results to predict positive cardiac sarcoidosis findings on imaging, but the system needs refinement. Our data suggest that major findings from screening studies are more likely to correlate with cMRI findings than with findings from FDG-cPET.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cardiac Imaging Techniques
  • Cardiomyopathies / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Positron-Emission Tomography*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Radiopharmaceuticals*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sarcoidosis / diagnosis*


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18