Endobronchial disease and racial differences in pulmonary sarcoidosis

Chest. 1997 Mar;111(3):619-22. doi: 10.1378/chest.111.3.619.


In a retrospective review of 7 years of Walter Reed Army Medical Center fiberoptic bronchoscopy records, 154 patients with biopsy specimen proved (122) and clinically diagnosed (32) sarcoidosis were identified. Endobronchial mucosal appearance was normal in only 70 (45%). Abnormal mucosal findings included erythema (29 patients), nodules (13), plaques (13), and cobblestoning (29). Fifty-nine patients were evaluated with endobronchial biopsies (EBBX), and non-necrotizing granulomata diagnostic of sarcoidosis were found in 42 (71%). The diagnostic yield from endobronchial biopsies was similar regardless of the type of mucosal abnormality. EBBX specimens were diagnostic in 85% of black patients and 38% of white patients (p = 0.00081), but diagnostic yield did not correlate with patient's sex, symptoms, radiographic stage of disease, or extent of physiologic abnormalities. Four patients with normal-appearing bronchial mucosa underwent EBBX, and sarcoidosis was diagnosed in two. Transbronchial lung biopsy (TBBX) specimens were diagnostic of sarcoidosis in 61 of 82 (74%) black and 28 of 56 (50%) white patients (p = 0.0038). We conclude that the bronchial mucosa appears abnormal in the majority (55%) of patients with sarcoidosis. EBBX specimens will diagnose sarcoidosis in a high percentage of such patients and should be performed routinely. EBBX may be preferable to TBBX because of its greater safety profile. In our patients, the yield of both EBBX and TBBX was significantly greater in African-Americans than white Americans.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biopsy / methods
  • Black People*
  • Bronchi / pathology*
  • Bronchoscopy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sarcoidosis, Pulmonary / ethnology*
  • Sarcoidosis, Pulmonary / pathology
  • White People*