Corticosteroid therapy for cardiac sarcoidosis: a systematic review

Can J Cardiol. 2013 Sep;29(9):1034-41. doi: 10.1016/j.cjca.2013.02.004. Epub 2013 Apr 24.


Background: There are no published clinical consensus guidelines or systematic evaluation supporting the use of corticosteroids for the treatment of cardiac sarcoidosis. The purpose of this study was to systematically review the published data on corticosteroid treatment of cardiac sarcoidosis.

Methods: Studies were identified from MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and National Institutes of Health Clinical database. The quality of included articles was rated using Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network 50. Outcomes examined were atrioventricular (AV) conduction, left ventricular function, ventricular arrhythmias, and mortality.

Results: A total of 1491 references were retrieved and 10 publications met the inclusion criteria. There were no randomized trials and all publications were of poor to fair quality. In the 10 reports, 257 patients received corticosteroids and 42 patients did not. There were 57 patients with AV conduction disease treated with corticosteroids, with 27/57 (47.4%) improving. In contrast, 16 patients were not treated with corticosteroids and 0/16 improved. Four publications reported on left ventricular function recovery, 2 reported on ventricular arrhythmia burden, and 9 reported on mortality. However, the data quality were too limited to draw conclusions for any of these outcomes.

Conclusions: Our systematic review identified 10 publications reporting outcomes after corticosteroid therapy. The best data relates to AV conduction recovery and corticosteroids appeared to be beneficial. It is not possible to draw clear conclusions about the utility of corticosteroids for the other outcomes. There is a clear need for large multicentre prospective registries and trials in this patient population.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiomyopathies / drug therapy*
  • Cardiomyopathies / mortality
  • Cardiomyopathies / physiopathology
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Methylprednisolone / therapeutic use
  • Prednisone / therapeutic use
  • Sarcoidosis / drug therapy*
  • Sarcoidosis / mortality
  • Sarcoidosis / physiopathology


  • Glucocorticoids
  • Prednisone
  • Methylprednisolone