Pulmonary sarcoidosis: role of CT in the evaluation of disease activity and functional impairment and in prognosis assessment

Radiology. 1994 Jun;191(3):675-80. doi: 10.1148/radiology.191.3.8184045.


Purpose: To investigate the role of computed tomography (CT) in determining disease activity and functional impairment and in predicting the prognosis of lung involvement in patients with sarcoidosis.

Materials and methods: Two groups of patients underwent CT, pulmonary function tests, and bronchoalveolar lavage. Disease activity was based on serum angiotensin converting enzyme activity and/or lymphocytosis at bronchoalveolar lavage. CT findings in group 1 were correlated with indexes of disease activity and functional parameters at diagnosis. In group 2, evaluation initially and at follow-up led to investigation of correlations between initial CT findings and evolution of disease activity and functional impairment.

Results: CT abnormalities in group 1 were nodules, air-space consolidation, lung distortion, septal and nonseptal linear areas of high attenuation, ground-glass attenuation, and honeycombing. Profusion of septal lines was the only CT finding that correlated with disease activity. Statistically significant (P < .05) but low correlation (r < .48) was observed between the extent of abnormalities at CT and impairment of lung function, except for nodules.

Conclusion: Profusion of lung changes reflects functional impairment but not disease activity. CT findings cannot help predict the evolution of lung changes over time.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / chemistry
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / cytology
  • Clinical Enzyme Tests
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A / blood
  • Prognosis
  • Respiratory Function Tests*
  • Sarcoidosis, Pulmonary / diagnosis
  • Sarcoidosis, Pulmonary / diagnostic imaging*
  • Sarcoidosis, Pulmonary / physiopathology
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*


  • Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A