Background: Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disorder of immune dysregulation characterized by non-caseating granulomas that can affect any organ. Cardiac sarcoidosis is an under-recognized entity that has a heterogeneous presentation and may occur independently or with any severity of systemic disease. Diagnosing cardiac sarcoidosis remains problematic with endomyocardial biopsies associated with a high risk of complications. Several diagnostic algorithms are currently available that rely on histopathology or clinical and radiological measures. The dominant mode of diagnostic imaging to date for cardiac sarcoidosis has been cardiac magnetic resonance imaging with gadolinium enhancement. Case presentations: We report the cases of two adult patients: case 1, a 50-year-old white man who presented with severe congestive cardiac failure; and case 2, a 37-year-old white woman who presented with complete heart block. Both patients had a background of untreated pulmonary sarcoidosis. Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging did not show evidence of sarcoidosis in either patient and both proceeded to 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography scans that were highly suggestive of cardiac sarcoidosis. Both patients were systemically immunosuppressed with orally administered prednisone and methotrexate and had subsequent improvement by clinical and nuclear medicine imaging measures. Conclusions: Current consensus guidelines recommend all patients with sarcoidosis undergo screening for occult cardiac disease, with thorough history and examination, electrocardiogram, and transthoracic echocardiogram. If any abnormalities are detected, advanced cardiac imaging should follow. While cardiac magnetic resonance imaging identifies the majority of cardiac sarcoidosis, early disease may not be detected. These cases demonstrate 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography is warranted following an indeterminate or normal cardiac magnetic resonance imaging if clinical suspicion remains high. Unidentified and untreated cardiac sarcoidosis risks significant morbidity and mortality, but early detection can facilitate disease-modifying immunosuppression and cardiac-specific interventions.
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- Cardiac sarcoidosis