PET-CT and Cardiac SPECT Exams Shine Light on Cardiac Sarcoidosis

A More Accurate Cardiac Sarcoidosis Diagnosis

Sarcoidosis is a disease that usually affects many organs, including the lungs, skin, lymph nodes, and heart. It is characterized by collections of granulomas on said organs, or an accumulation of inflammatory cells. This disease has shown to disproportionately affect African Americans.

A study done at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) showed that an imaging technique using combined PET-CT, which incorporated a high fat and low sugar diet 72 hours prior to testing, provided images that were better at detecting cardiac sarcoidosis than previously utilized techniques.

Sarcoidosis has proven difficult to diagnose even with nuclear imaging techniques. Traditional tests, like PET and CT scans, as well as other combination scans, have been used to diagnose cardiac sarcoidosis before, with varying degrees of accuracy.

Using the PET-CT imaging technique combined with a 72 hour controlled high fat, low sugar diet, has shown to diagnose cardiac sarcoidosis much more accurately than previous testing techniques. Through this technique, researchers at the University of Illinois found that 40% of patients diagnosed with cardiac sarcoidosis also had sarcoidosis in other areas of their bodies. This indicates that patients with this disease could greatly benefit from full-body scans that could uncover secondary sites of disease.

Knowing more about cardiac sarcoidosis, and how proof of its existence almost guarantees that a patient will display sarcoidosis in other areas of the body, paves the way for new and more accurate patient treatment.

Cardiac sarcoidosis has also been clearly and accurately detected using Ga SPECT scans combined with integrated low-dose CT.

PET Scan Cardiology

The data shows that SPECT, CT, and Cardiac PET scans cost less than their diagnostic value. With continuing studies and developments in the world of nuclear cardiology, the medical community can expect to continue relying on these advanced testing methods, and their future improvements, for a long time to come.