An immune system on overdrive
Cardiac sarcoidosis is a rare autoimmune disorder in which the body overproduces immune cells, which clump together into "granulomas" that can build up in the heart, disrupting heart rhythm, blood flow and normal heart function.
Closing off arteries: Granulomas can build up in blood vessels and constrict blood flow, leading to heart attacks.
Constricting ventricles: If granulomas are in the heart muscle, they can weaken the heart's pumping function and cause abnormal heart rhythms.
What causes sarcoidosis?
Doctors are unsure, but there may be correlation to biological inhaled contaminants. Risk factors include:
If normal treatment for common heart conditions fails to relieve symptoms, doctors may seek answers through:
Treating cardiac sarcoidosis may require a combination of treatments. The goal is to treat as early as possible, before permanent heart damage can occur.
Immunosuppression medications may reduce production of granulomas.
Pacemaker or implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD) can manage or correct heart rhythm.
Ablation creates scar tissue to stop parts of heart muscle from triggering irregular rhythms.
Heart transplant may be necessary in some cases.
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