Racial difference in cardiac sarcoidosis incidence observed at autopsy

Sarcoidosis. 1994 Mar;11(1):26-31.


The most commonly involved organ in sarcoid related death has been reported to be the lung in western countries, while it was the heart in the Japanese autopsy series. In order to verify this different pattern of death, autopsy records were reviewed in two United States institutions and in Japanese nation-wide data. In Japanese, male to female ratio was 1:2 and a high frequency of sarcoidosis in females over 50 years of age was observed. Male to female ratio in Caucasian sarcoidosis autopsy was nearly 1:1. In Afroamericans, it was nearly 1:2, and the age distribution showed that this female predominance was due to a high number of sarcoidosis in females over 40 years of age. The frequency of sarcoidosis in Caucasian autopsies was higher than in Japanese autopsies. The number of involved organs was smaller in Caucasians than in Afroamericans or in Japanese. The incidence of cardiac sarcoid granuloma in Japanese was significantly higher than that seen in Caucasians and Afroamericans. The commonest cause of death in sarcoidosis of Caucasians and Afroamericans was from non-sarcoid diseases, while the major cause of sarcoid-attributed death was pulmonary sarcoidosis in Afroamericans. Japanese showed the highest rate of cardiac sarcoid-attributed death. Possible factors relating to this high incidence of sarcoidosis in elderly females and the racial difference in cardiac sarcoidosis were discussed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Asians
  • Autopsy
  • Blacks
  • Cardiomyopathies / epidemiology
  • Cardiomyopathies / ethnology*
  • Cause of Death
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Racial Groups*
  • Sarcoidosis / epidemiology
  • Sarcoidosis / ethnology*
  • Sex Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Whites