Background: Sarcoidosis is a multiorgan granulomatous disease of unknown cause. Lack of an objective system for assessment of sarcoidosis to evaluate disease course and effectiveness of therapy is a major problem.
Methods: The sarcoidosis assessment instrument was developed by the Steering Committee of A Case Control Etiologic Study of Sarcoidosis (ACCESS) which included investigators at the ten ACCESS Clinical Centers, the Clinical Coordinating Center, and representatives of the National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute. This system was developed to assess sarcoidosis organ involvement in ACCESS patients who would be followed over a two-year period. The system represents a consensus of opinions of members of the Steering Committee based on review of their experience and the medical literature.
Results: Criteria for involvement in patients with biopsy-confirmed sarcoidosis are presented for organs and systems that are commonly involved (lung, skin, eyes, liver, calcium metabolism), unusual but clinically important (nervous system, kidney, heart) and other sites (non-thoracic lymph nodes, bone marrow, spleen, bone/joint, ear/nose/throat, parotid/salivary glands, muscles).
Conclusion: The proposed instrument is partially subjective in that it depends upon the clinician's diligence in pursuing evidence for sarcoidosis involvement of various organs. It is hoped that this instrument will lead to increased standardization in the definition of sarcoidosis organ involvement to help clinicians and researchers better characterize patients with sarcoidosis.