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Cardiac Sarcoidosis Diagnosis

When diagnosing cardiac sarcoidosis, your doctor will perform a physical exam and a blood pressure test (usually high, with a difference between right and left arm), review your medical history, and order tests such as:

  • Echocardiogram is a non-invasive test that uses ultra sound (sound waves) and a device called a transducer—which is placed on the surface of the chest—to create a moving picture of the heart. This helps to determine how well the heart is able to pump blood.
     
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) is a simple non-invasive test that can be done in the doctor’s office using small adhesive pads called electrodes that are placed on the arms, legs, and chest. These electrodes are connected to a machine that detects and prints out the heart's electrical impulses, giving a 10-second snapshot of what the heart is doing right at that moment.
     
  • Chest X-ray is a non-invasive test that takes pictures of the heart and lungs; these can help the doctor determine if there’s a problem that is causing discomfort.
     
  • Holter heart monitor is used to give a detailed analysis of the heart’s electrical activity over a period of 24 hours (1 day). For this non-invasive test, which is done at home, 4 or 5 adhesive electrodes are placed on the chest and connected to an electrical recording device that is usually worn on the belt or on a neck/shoulder strap. This device records every heartbeat for the duration of the time that it’s worn.
     
  • Tissue biopsy is used to look for the presence of granulomas. This is done by taking a small tissue sample from the heart through a vein.
     
  • Other possible tests may include: positron emission tomography (PET), CT, MRI or electrophysiologic study (EPS).