Sarcoidosis in America. Analysis Based on Health Care Use

Ann Am Thorac Soc. 2016 Aug;13(8):1244-52. doi: 10.1513/AnnalsATS.201511-760OC.


Rationale: There have been no recent comprehensive studies of the epidemiology of sarcoidosis in the United States. Changes in health care use have made available access to data on large numbers of patients with sarcoidosis.

Objectives: To use a U.S. national health care database to gather data on patients with sarcoidosis identified over a 3-year period who were 18 years of age and older, and to determine health care costs for these patients.

Methods: The Optum health care database was queried for a 3-year period (2010-2013). This database includes approximately 15% of U.S. residents. The incidence rate of sarcoidosis was calculated for new cases identified in each year. Calculation of prevalence was based on any patient with sarcoidosis seen during the year. Incidence and prevalence rates are reported per 100,000 patients.

Measurements and main results: A total of 29,372 adult patients with sarcoidosis were identified. Of these, 14,700 (55%) were over 55 years of age at the time of diagnosis. The incidence and prevalence rates were higher for African Americans (17.8 and 141.4 per 100,000, respectively) than for white individuals (8.1 and 49.8), Hispanics (4.3 and 21.7), or Asians (3.2 and 18.9). Women were two times more likely to have sarcoidosis, with the highest prevalence for sarcoidosis noted in African American women (178.5). Overall, the yearly health care cost reported for patients with sarcoidosis was low, with a median of $18,663 per year. However, the yearly cost for the top 5% was $93,201.

Conclusions: For patients 18 years of age and older enrolled in a U.S. national administrative database, sarcoidosis was more common among African Americans, but it was reported for all four of the major ethnic groups studied. While health care costs were relatively small for most patients, the cost of care for some patients was considerable.

Keywords: epidemiology; health care use; race; sarcoidosis; sex.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Databases, Factual
  • Demography
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Sarcoidosis / epidemiology*
  • Sarcoidosis / therapy*
  • Sex Distribution
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult