Myocardial Blood Flow and Inflammatory Cardiac Sarcoidosis

Matthew J. Kruse, Lara Kovell, Edward K Kasper, Martin Gilbert Pomper, David Moller, Lilja Solnes, Edward Chen, Thomas H. Schindler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objectives This study sought to evaluate the effects of inflammatory sarcoid disease on coronary circulatory function and the response to immune-suppressive treatment. Background Although positron emission tomography assessment of myocardial inflammation is increasingly applied to identify active cardiac sarcoidosis, its effect on coronary flow and immune-suppressive treatment remains to be characterized. Methods Thirty-two individuals, who were referred for positron emission tomography/computed tomography, were evaluated for known or suspected cardiac sarcoidosis applying 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose to determine inflammation and 13N-ammonia to assess for perfusion deficits following a high-fat/low-carbohydrate diet and fasting state >12 h to suppress myocardial glucose uptake. Inflammation was quantified with standardized uptake value and regional myocardial blood flow at rest and during regadenoson-stimulated hyperemia was determined in ml/g/min. Positron emission tomography studies were repeated in 18 cases with a median follow-up of 2.5 years (interquartile range [IQR]:1.3 to 3.4 years). Results Twenty-five exams had normal perfusion but evidence of regional inflammation (group 1), and 21 exams presented a regional perfusion deficit associated with inflammation (group 2). Median myocardial blood flow did not differ between inflamed and noninflamed myocardium in both groups (0.86 ml/g/min [IQR: 0.66 to 1.11 ml/g/min] vs. 0.83 ml/g/min [IQR: 0.64 to 1.12 ml/g/min] and 0.74 ml/g/min [IQR: 0.60 to 0.93 ml/g/min] vs. 0.77 ml/g/min [IQR: 0.59 to 0.95 ml/g/min], respectively). As regards median hyperemic myocardial blood flows, they were significantly lower in the inflamed than in the remote regions in group 1 and 2 (2.31 ml/g/min [IQR: 1.81 to 2.95 ml/g/min] vs. 2.70 ml/g/min [IQR: 2.07 to 3.30 ml/g/min] and 1.61 ml/g/min [IQR: 1.17 to 2.18 ml/g/min] vs. 1.94 ml/g/min [IQR: 1.49 to 2.39 ml/g/min]; p < 0.001, respectively). Immune-suppression–mediated decrease in inflammation was associated with preserved myocardial flow reserve (MFR) at follow-up, whereas MFR significantly worsened in regions without changes or even increases in inflammation (median ΔMFR: 0.07 [IQR: –0.29 to 0.45] vs. –0.24 [IQR: –0.84 to 0.21]; p < 0.001). There was an inverse correlation between pronounced alterations in myocardial inflammation (Δ regional myocardial volume with standardized uptake value >4.1) and ΔMFR (r = –0.47; p = 0.048). Conclusions Sarcoid-mediated myocardial inflammation is associated with a regional impairment of coronary circulatory function. The association between immune-suppressive treatment-related alterations in myocardial inflammation and changes in coronary vasodilator capacity suggests direct adverse effect of inflammation on coronary circulatory function in cardiac sarcoidosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-167
Number of pages11
JournalJACC: Cardiovascular Imaging
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017



  • blood flow
  • circulation
  • inflammation
  • microvascular function
  • myocardial flow reserve
  • myocardial perfusion
  • positron emission tomography
  • sarcoid disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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