Diagnostics, treatment and outcomes of cardiac sarcoidosis in a Norwegian cohort

Int J Cardiol. 2024 Apr 1:400:131809. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2024.131809. Epub 2024 Jan 23.


Background: Evidence-based guidelines for cardiac sarcoidosis (CS) regarding use of second- and third-line agents, treatment duration, surveillance and prognostic factors are lacking.

Objective: To analyze the clinical presentation, diagnostics, treatment, monitoring and clinical outcomes in a Norwegian cohort.

Methods: Using discharge diagnoses between 2017 through 2020 from a large tertiary center, we identified 52 patients with CS. We performed a systematic chart review following a pre-specified checklist. The primary outcome of major cardiovascular events (MACE) was defined as a composite of cardiovascular hospitalization, defibrillator therapy, cardiac transplantation, or death.

Results: 18-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) showed pathological tracer uptake in 35/36 (97%) of immunosuppression-naïve patients. Immunosuppressive treatment was administered to 49/52 patients (94%) for a median of 43 (IQR 34) months; 69% were treated with second-line (methotrexate, azathioprine, mycophenolate mofetil) and 25% with third-line (rituximab, infliximab) agents, respectively. Rituximab reduced inflammation as assessed by interval FDG-PET imaging and was overall well tolerated. Median duration to first MACE was 6 (IQR 10) months and 17/23 patients (74%) experienced a MACE within 12 months from CS diagnosis. No mortality was recorded and 20% achieved full remission. Age below the median of 53 years at time of diagnosis was associated with an increased risk of a MACE.

Conclusion: Long-term immunosuppression including a liberal use of non-steroidal agents, appeared essential in treating CS. Although the burden of cardiovascular events was substantial, the survival was excellent in this contemporary cohort. Prospective randomized studies are urgently needed to define the best therapy for these patients.

Keywords: Cardiac sarcoidosis; Immunosuppression; Infliximab; Methotrexate; Positron emission tomography; Rituximab; Treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Cardiomyopathies* / diagnosis
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocarditis*
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Rituximab / therapeutic use
  • Sarcoidosis* / diagnostic imaging
  • Sarcoidosis* / epidemiology
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Rituximab