Bronchoscopy in sarcoidosis: diagnostic and therapeutic interventions

Curr Opin Pulm Med. 2003 Sep;9(5):402-7. doi: 10.1097/00063198-200309000-00011.


Flexible bronchoscopy has revolutionized the evaluation of patients with suspected sarcoidosis and the treatment of sarcoid patients with significant endobronchial disease. The authors explore the diagnostic and therapeutic utility of flexible bronchoscopy by reviewing the pertinent literature with a special interest in recent studies. Bronchoscopy allows multiple diagnostic modalities in suspected sarcoidosis. Recent studies show sometimes surprising results, and the authors review the additive contributions of transbronchial lung biopsy, endobronchial biopsy, transbronchial needle aspiration, and bronchoalveolar lavage to diagnose sarcoidosis. New data specifically show the additive benefit of routine endobronchial biopsy and transbronchial needle aspiration to traditional transbronchial biopsy specimens. In addition, the techniques have been optimized via recent studies and these results are discussed. Endobronchial therapy is reviewed with the recent findings of the superiority of balloon bronchoplasty. Flexible bronchoscopy has a very high diagnostic yield in all stages of suspected sarcoidosis. Transbronchial lung biopsy and endobronchial biopsy should be used routinely, and transbronchial needle aspiration should be considered in cases of significant adenopathy. Bronchoalveolar lavage should be used routinely to exclude alternative diagnoses. Therapeutic bronchoscopy is rarely needed, but when necessary the authors' procedure of choice is bronchoscopic balloon dilatation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage
  • Bronchoscopy* / methods*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Sarcoidosis, Pulmonary / diagnosis*
  • Sarcoidosis, Pulmonary / therapy*