Image: Using a new imaging technique that can diagnose cardiac sarcoidosis much more accurately than traditional tests, researchers found that the disease cardiac sarcoidosis affects other organs in 40 percent of patients (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock).
Researchers have shown that a new PET/CT imaging technique can enable much more accurate diagnoses of a rare condition called cardiac sarcoidosis than current tests.
The inflammatory disease is difficult to diagnose and in 40% of cases can affect multiple organs such as the heart, lungs, and lymph nodes. Separate Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Computed Tomography (CT) scans, and combined PET/CT imaging is often used for cardiac sarcoidosis diagnoses but can also result in many false negatives.
The study was carried out by researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC; Chicago, IL, USA) and published online in the July 5, 2017, issue of the Journal of Nuclear Cardiology. The study group of 188 patients underwent full-body PET/CT scans at the University of Illinois Hospital (UI Health). The new protocol was used to study the relationship between cardiac sarcoidosis and sarcoidosis in other organs and included a high-fat, low-sugar diet for 72-hours before image acquisition.
The results showed that the new scanning protocol provides much clearer images and improves the detection of cardiac sarcoidosis. The results showed that eight of the 20 scans that were positive for cardiac sarcoidosis also showed sarcoidosis in other parts of the patients’ bodies.
One of the authors of the paper, Dr. Nadera Sweiss, professor of rheumatology at UIC College of Medicine, said, "We wanted to know if patients being evaluated for cardiac sarcoidosis would benefit from more thorough imaging of the body beyond the usual torso scan, using this new technique. This study indicates that more extensive, full-body scans of patients with known cardiac sarcoidosis can uncover secondary sites of the disease in a significant number of patients. Knowing there is disease in organs other than the heart changes the way we approach treatment – it allows us to more accurately stage the disease and treat it accordingly."
University of Illinois at Chicago
University of Illinois Hospital