Pulmonary radioaerosol clearance rate of 99mTc diethylenetriamine pentacetate (DTPA) in 14 patients with untreated sarcoidosis was compared with 67Ga lung scan and increased lymphocytes in the bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid. Nine healthy nonsmoking subjects had a mean DTPA clearance rate of 1.18%/min (range, 0.54 to 1.60%/min). Eight of 14 patients with sarcoidosis had clearance rates greater than 1.60%/min. Of those 8 patients with abnormal DTPA clearance, 4 had positive gallium scans, 4 had more than 17% lymphocytes in the BAL fluid, and 3 had both tests positive. To study the cause of abnormal DTPA clearance, 23 subjects (including 3 normal controls, all 14 patients with sarcoidosis, and 6 patients with localized disease on chest roentgenogram) underwent both DTPA clearance studies and BAL for quantitation of the amount of albumin in lung fluid. There was a positive correlation between the rate of DTPA clearance and the albumin concentration in lung fluid (r = 0.87, p less than 0.01).