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Infliximab for Refractory Cardiac Sarcoidosis

      Cardiac sarcoidosis (CS) is frequently difficult to treat. Infliximab (IFX) is useful for extracardiac sarcoidosis, but its use in CS has been limited due to concerns about cardiotoxicity and an FDA blackbox warning about use in heart failure. We reviewed 36 consecutive patients treated with infliximab for CS refractory to standard therapies. IFX was initiated for patients with refractory dysrhythmias, moderate to severe cardiomyopathy, and evidence of persistent F-18 fluorodeoxyglucose uptake on positron emission tomography scan, despite standard therapies. We compared the prednisone dose, ejection fraction (EF), and dysrhythmias before and after IFX therapy. The prednisone-equivalent steroid dose decreased from a median of 20 mg at initiation of infliximab to 7.5 at 6 months and 5 mg at 12 months postinitiation of infliximab (p <0.001). In the 25 patients with serial EF measurements, no statistically significant difference was detected in EF (41% at baseline, 42% at 6 months). Of the 16 patients with serial dysrhythmia data, there was a trend toward reduction of percent of patients with ventricular tachycardia (VT), from 32% at baseline, to 22% at 6 months and 19% at 12 months (p = 0.07). Adverse events were common, occurring in 6 of 36 patients, with 3 of 36 patients stopping infliximab for a prolonged period. In responder analysis, 24 patients improved in at least 1 of 3 outcome categories. In conclusion, infliximab may be useful for refractory cardiac sarcoidosis.
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