A simple radiographic scoring method for monitoring pulmonary sarcoidosis: relations between radiographic scores, dyspnoea grade and respiratory function in the British Thoracic Society Study of Long-Term Corticosteroid Treatment

Sarcoidosis Vasc Diffuse Lung Dis. 1997 Mar;14(1):46-56.


Background: We used a simple semi-quantitative radiographic scoring system for a controlled prospective study of long term corticosteroids in pulmonary sarcoidosis, conducted by the British Thoracic Society.

Methods: Radiographic opacities were described in 4 categories: reticulo-nodular shadows [R], mass opacities [M], confluence [C], and shadows associated with possible pulmonary fibrosis [F]. The extent of each type was scored on a 0-4 scale by quartiles, and profusion by a 0-4 scale as absent, minimal (just perceptible), mild moderate or gross. Combined scores for each film were derived by multiplying the extent and profusion for each type of opacity. In the study 149 patients were examined at entry and periodically over a 5-year period. Using the whole study population we examined the relationship between the radiographic scores for extent and profusion, how predominant types change with time and how the scores correlated with other indices of disease severity.

Results: R was the predominant abnormality throughout the study with a strong correlation between extent and profusion. Significant correlations in the expected directions were demonstrated between the R and F scores and a dyspnoea score, spirometry and TLCO, both at study entry, after 6 months and after 5 years. Similarly, there were significant relations between changes in spirometry and TLCO over five years and changes in R and F Scores.

Conclusion: This scoring system would seem to be suitable, perhaps after further validation work, for other prospective clinical studies.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Dyspnea / physiopathology*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Lung / physiopathology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Observer Variation
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radiography
  • Respiratory Function Tests / methods
  • Sarcoidosis, Pulmonary / diagnostic imaging*
  • Sarcoidosis, Pulmonary / drug therapy
  • Sarcoidosis, Pulmonary / physiopathology
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Societies, Medical
  • Time Factors
  • United Kingdom


  • Glucocorticoids