Additional Information on Sarcoidosis Testing
Thallium and Gallium Scans
Thallium and gallium scans are often done to see if sarcoidosis is affecting your heart. Thallium and gallium are radioactive elements. Your doctor injects a small amount of one of them into a vein in your arm. The elements collect at places in your body where there is inflammation. After a while, your body is scanned for radioactivity. Increased radioactivity at any place may be a sign of inflammation.
This test gives information on the tissue in your body that has been affected by sarcoidosis and the amount of damage that has been done. But since this test shows all inflammation in your body, even inflammation caused by conditions other than sarcoidosis, it does not give a definite diagnosis of sarcoidosis.
A PET (positron emission tomography) scan also uses radioactive injections. It may be more sensitive than gallium in detecting areas of inflammation. Some doctors are using it instead of gallium scans.
Your doctor may not need to find every one of your organs affected by sarcoidosis -- only those that cause symptoms. Often, the organs affected by sarcoidosis continue to function well and don't need to be treated.