The prognostic role of cardiac positron emission tomography imaging in patients with sarcoidosis: A systematic review

J Nucl Cardiol. 2021 Aug;28(4):1545-1552. doi: 10.1007/s12350-021-02681-z. Epub 2021 Jul 6.

Abstract

Purpose: Sarcoidosis is a multi-systemic inflammatory disease of unknown etiology. Cardiac sarcoidosis (CS) has been reported in as much as 25% of patients with systemic involvement. 18Fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography (PET) has a high diagnostic sensitivity/specificity in the diagnosis of CS. The aim of this review is to summarize evidence on the prognostic role of FDG PET.

Methods: Studies were identified by searching MEDLINE from inception to October 2020. Medical subject headings (MeSH) terms for sarcoidosis; cardiac and FDG PET imaging were used. Studies of any design assessing the prognostic role of FDG PET in patients with either suspected or confirmed cardiac sarcoidosis imaging done at baseline were included. Abnormal PET was defined as abnormal metabolism (presence of focal or focal-on-diffuse uptake of FDG) OR abnormal metabolism and a perfusion defect. Studies reporting any outcome measure were included. Pooled risk ratio for the composite outcome of MACE was done.

Results: A total of 6 studies were selected for final inclusion (515 patients, 53.4% women, 19.8% racial minorities.) Studies were institution based, retrospective in design and enrolled consecutive patients. All were observational in nature and published in English. All studies used a qualitative assessment of PET scans (abnormal FDG uptake with or without abnormal perfusion). Two studies assessed quantitative metrics (summed stress score in segments with abnormal FDG uptake, standardized uptake value and cardiac metabolic activity.) All studies reported major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) as a composite outcome. After a mean follow up ranging from 1.4 to 4.1 years, there were a total of 105 MACE. All studies included death (either all-cause death or sudden cardiac death) and ventricular arrhythmia (ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation) as a component of MACE. Four of the six studies adjusted for several characteristics in their analysis. All four studies used left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF). However, other adjustment variables were not consistent across studies. Five studies found a positive prognostic association with the primary outcome, two of which assessing right ventricular uptake.

Conclusion: Although available evidence indicates FDG PET can be used in the risk stratification of patients with CS, our findings show further studies are needed to quantify the effect in this patient group.

Keywords: CMR; Cardiac sarcoidosis; FDG PET; Nuclear cardiac imaging.

Publication types

  • Review