Pulmonary hypertension in sarcoidosis: a review

Respirology. 2011 Jan;16(1):69-77. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1843.2010.01872.x.


Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a well-recognized complication of sarcoidosis. Patients with sarcoidosis-associated PH (SAPH) have poorer functional status and greater supplemental oxygen requirements than sarcoidosis patients without PH, and are more likely to be listed for lung transplantation. PH is an independent risk factor for mortality in sarcoidosis patients awaiting lung transplantation. The pathophysiology of SAPH is complex, with multiple mechanisms contributing to pathogenesis, including the fibrous destruction of the pulmonary vascular bed, extrinsic compression of the central pulmonary vessels and an intrinsic vasculopathy. Recognition of SAPH may be delayed as it can be masked by the clinical picture of underlying pulmonary sarcoidosis, and right heart catheter remains the gold-standard for diagnosis. Management of SAPH is based on reversal of resting hypoxaemia, treatment of comorbidities and treatment of the underlying sarcoidosis. The use of corticosteroids in SAPH is controversial. Specific PH therapy is not routinely recommended in SAPH as there are no successful placebo-controlled trials, although there is limited data to suggest that endothelin receptor antagonists and phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors may be useful.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiomyopathies / diagnostic imaging
  • Cardiomyopathies / etiology
  • Cardiomyopathies / physiopathology
  • Endothelin-1 / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / diagnosis
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / etiology*
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / physiopathology
  • Lung / blood supply
  • Lung / physiopathology
  • Natriuretic Peptide, Brain / metabolism
  • Sarcoidosis, Pulmonary / complications*
  • Sarcoidosis, Pulmonary / diagnosis
  • Sarcoidosis, Pulmonary / physiopathology
  • Ultrasonography
  • Vasoconstriction


  • Endothelin-1
  • Natriuretic Peptide, Brain