BACKGROUND: Cardiac fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) has emerged as a standard imaging modality for the diagnosis of cardiac sarcoidosis (CS); however, there is a scarcity of data on the use of serial FDG-PET to guide immunosuppressive therapy.OBJECTIVES: To report our experience in using serial FDG-PET for the diagnosis and management of patients with CS, focusing on its utility in ongoing immunosuppression management.METHODS: We studied consecutive patients with CS managed at Stanford University from 2010-2017. We evaluated our experience in using FDG-PET for diagnosis and guidance of immunosuppressive therapy titration in CS.RESULTS: Among 34 patients diagnosed with CS, 16 (47%), 12 (35%) and 14 (41%) patients presented with heart block, heart failure and ventricular arrhythmias, respectively. FDG-PET proved beneficial in the initial diagnosis in 21 (62%) patients. 128 FDG-PET scans were performed (median 3/patient). Ninety-four (73%) FDG-PET scans resulted in a change in therapy, with 42 (33%) FDG-PET scans instrumental for tapering prednisone. Among patients who were initiated on prednisone, the mean dose of prednisone at one year was 9.5 mg/day. Over a median follow-up of 2.3 years, 48% of patients were successfully weaned off of prednisone completely, and 20% were weaned to a maintenance dosage of 5-10 mg/day. During the follow-up period, transplant-free survival was 88%.CONCLUSIONS: The use of serial cardiac FDG-PET for the diagnosis and management of CS was critical for guiding immunosuppression management and resulted in low chronic steroid doses and good disease control within one year of diagnosis.
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