Background: Cardiac sarcoidosis is associated with an increased risk of heart failure and sudden death, but its risk in patients with preserved left ventricular ejection fraction is unknown. Using cardiovascular magnetic resonance in patients with extracardiac sarcoidosis and preserved left ventricular ejection fraction, we sought to (1) determine the prevalence of cardiac sarcoidosis or associated myocardial damage, defined by the presence of late gadolinium enhancement (LGE), (2) quantify their risk of death/ventricular tachycardia (VT), and (3) identify imaging-based covariates that predict who is at greatest risk of death/VT.
Methods and results: Parameters of left and right ventricular function and LGE burden were measured in 205 patients with left ventricular ejection fraction >50% and extracardiac sarcoidosis who underwent cardiovascular magnetic resonance for LGE evaluation. The association between covariates and death/VT in the entire group and within the LGE+ group was determined using Cox proportional hazard models and time-dependent receiver-operator curves analysis. Forty-one of 205 patients (20%) had LGE; 12 of 205 (6%) died or had VT during follow-up; of these, 10 (83%) were in the LGE+ group. In the LGE+ group (1) the rate of death/VT per year was >20× higher than LGE- (4.9 versus 0.2%, P<0.01); (2) death/VT were associated with a greater burden of LGE (14±11 versus 5±5%, P<0.01) and right ventricular dysfunction (right ventricular EF 45±12 versus 53±28%, P=0.04). LGE burden was the best predictor of death/VT (area under the receiver-operating characteristics curve, 0.80); for every 1% increase of LGE burden, the hazard of death/VT increased by 8%.
Conclusions: Sarcoidosis patients with LGE are at significant risk for death/VT, even with preserved left ventricular ejection fraction. Increased LGE burden and right ventricular dysfunction can identify LGE+ patients at highest risk of death/VT.
Keywords: cardiac arrhythmias; cardiac magnetic resonance; cardiomyopathy; defibrillator; gadolinium; heart failure; sarcoidosis.
© 2016 The Authors.