Neurologic manifestations in sarcoidosis: review of the literature, with a report of 23 cases

Ann Intern Med. 1977 Sep;87(3):336-45. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-87-3-336.


Nervous system involvement by sarcoidosis has been considered rare, yet more than 400 cases have been reported. We present 23 additional cases here, including 14 with autopsies, and we review the literature. The overall frequency of neurologic involvement is 5%. Patients usually have other stigmata of sarcoidosis; however, neurologic dysfunction is frequently the presenting finding. The protean manifestations of central nervous system (CNS) involvement usually occur in the early phase of the disease, while those of peripheral nervous system and skeletal muscle involvement are characteristically seen in the chronic stages. Basal granulomatous meningitis causes most of the CNS manifestations either by infiltration or compression of adjacent structures. Steroids are the mainstay of therapy, and the overall response is quite variable. The course is also variable, being transient in some and chronic in others. The prognosis is better with peripheral than with central nervous system involvement.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain Diseases / etiology
  • Cranial Nerves
  • Epilepsy / complications
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ischemic Attack, Transient / complications
  • Male
  • Meningitis / complications
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscular Diseases / complications
  • Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis
  • Nervous System Diseases / etiology*
  • Nervous System Diseases / therapy
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / etiology
  • Sarcoidosis / complications*
  • Sarcoidosis / diagnosis
  • Sarcoidosis / therapy
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / complications