Pulmonary sarcoidosis

Semin Respir Crit Care Med. 2007 Feb;28(1):53-74. doi: 10.1055/s-2007-970333.


Sarcoidosis, a granulomatous disorder of unknown etiology, characteristically involves multiple organs. However, pulmonary manifestations typically dominate. Chest radiographs are abnormal in 85 to 95% of patients. Abnormalities in pulmonary function tests are common and may be associated with cough, dyspnea, and exercise limitation. However, one third or more of patients are asymptomatic, with incidental abnormalities on chest radiographs. The clinical course and expression of pulmonary sarcoidosis are variable. Spontaneous remissions occur in nearly two thirds of patients. The course is chronic in up to 30% of patients. Chronic pulmonary sarcoidosis may result in progressive (sometimes life-threatening) loss of lung function. Fatalities ascribed to sarcoidosis occur in 1 to 4% of patients. Although the impact of treatment is controversial, corticosteroids may be highly effective in some patients. Immunosuppressive, cytotoxic, or immunomodulatory agents are reserved for patients failing or experiencing adverse effects from corticosteroids. Lung transplantation is a viable option for patients with life-threatening disease failing medical therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Granuloma, Respiratory Tract / complications
  • Granuloma, Respiratory Tract / diagnosis*
  • Granuloma, Respiratory Tract / therapy
  • Humans
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung / pathology
  • Necrosis
  • Prognosis
  • Radiography
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Sarcoidosis, Pulmonary / complications
  • Sarcoidosis, Pulmonary / diagnosis*
  • Sarcoidosis, Pulmonary / therapy


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones