Aim: To determine whether gadolinium-enhanced cardiac MRI (CMR) was of additional diagnostic value to standard assessment in patients with sarcoidosis who underwent evaluation for cardiac involvement.
Methods: We reviewed the findings in patients with pulmonary sarcoidosis who had been assessed with ECG, Doppler echocardiography, 201Tl scintigraphy, and CMR from 2002 to 2004.
Results: Of the 55 evaluated patients, standard evaluation diagnosed cardiac involvement in 13 patients while CMR diagnosed myocardial scarring (mean ± SD, 2.5 ± 1.9 segments) [all 6 patients] and impaired systolic left ventricular function (1 patient) in an additional 6 patients. The extent of delayed enhancement correlated with disease duration (p < 0.05), ventricular dimensions and function (p < 0.001), severity of mitral regurgitation (p < 0.05), and the presence of ventricular tachycardias (p < 0.001). Patients in whom cardiac involvement was diagnosed only with CMR had less myocardial scarring and functional impairment (p < 0.05) compared to patients with a diagnosis made by standard assessment.
Conclusion: CMR provides an accurate estimation of the extent of cardiac involvement and may reveal signs of early infiltration that are not detected by standard assessment. The extent of late enhancement with gadolinium relates to the severity of cardiac involvement and may therefore have prognostic implications.