Purpose: To identify relationships between the obstructive defects of pulmonary sarcoidosis and the computed tomographic (CT) patterns of disease.
Material and methods: CT scans obtained in 45 patients were scored semiquantitatively for extent of five CT patterns, and the functional importance of each pattern was evaluated.
Results: The most prevalent CT patterns were decreased attenuation (n = 40), a reticular pattern (n = 37), and a nodular pattern (n = 36). At univariate and multivariate analyses, a reticular pattern was the main determinant of functional impairment, particularly airflow obstruction. The extent of a reticular pattern was independently associated with airflow obstruction, as shown by the inverse relationships with the forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) (P < .001), FEV1-forced vital capacity ratio (P < .01), maximum expiratory flow at 25% above residual volume (P < .001), and maximum expiratory flow at 50% above residual volume (P < .001) and the positive relationship with the residual volume-total lung capacity ratio (P < .001).
Conclusion: In sarcoidosis, CT features compatible with small airways disease are common but contribute little to airflow obstruction, particularly in more advanced disease, which is characterized by an extensive reticular pattern. A reticular pattern at CT is the major morphologic association of airflow obstruction.