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Sarcoidosis Week

Sarcoidosis Week

Welcome to Sarcoidosis Week at the American Thoracic Society (ATS). Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disorder characterized by non-caseating granulomas on biopsy and unpredictable multiorgan involvement. It is not clear what causes the symptoms of sarcoidosis, as the pathogenesis of sarcoid remains unknown.  Sarcoid can affect the skin, eyes, musculoskeletal system, lymphatics, salivary glands, kidneys, liver, brain, and lungs.

The lungs specifically are a common and important site of involvement with sarcoidosis, and sarcoid can cause both obstructive and restrictive disease as well as problems with gas exchange and oxygen uptake. Pulmonary symptoms of sarcoidosis can include shortness of breath, cough, and chest pain. Systemic symptoms can include fever, fatigue, and anorexia. Sarcoid can cause a variety of changes to lung imaging, with x-rays and CT scans demonstrating reticular opacities, fibrotic changes, and/or nodules or masses.

Sarcoid can sometimes present as the constellation of fever, diffuse joint pain, and a tender, red, nodular rash referred to as erythema nodosum. This combination of symptoms is referred to as Lofgren syndrome, and is associated with an excellent prognosis characterized by full recovery in most cases. Other manifestations of sarcoid, including primary lung involvement, have a less certain prognosis and tend to be lifelong clinical issues for patients.

The incidence of sarcoidosis is on the order of 5-20 cases per 100,000 people, and there is a higher incidence of sarcoid in African-Americans (~35 cases per 100,000). Sarcoid is more common in women than men, with an approximate 2:1 female to male occurrence.

Biopsy of an affected organ is the only definitive test for diagnosing sarcoidosis, as there are no accurate or reliable diagnostic blood tests. Treatment is passed on symptoms, lung function (as measured by pulmonary function testing), worsening radiographic changes, or progression of extra-pulmonary organ involvement. When treatment is indicated, corticosteroids are typically prescribed with a high-dose burst followed by a prolonged (6-12 months) treatment course. Vigilance for adverse consequences of corticosteroid treatment is important while monitoring the status of sarcoid. Non- corticosteroid immunosuppressive agents are sometimes used for long-term treatment of sarcoidosis.

With the Foundation for Sarcoidosis Research, the ATS anticipates that Sarcoidosis Week will provide the general public and ATS members with resources for understanding and optimizing monitoring and management of sarcoidosis, with the ultimate goal of better understanding of the causes of sarcoidosis to help us identify a cure for this disease.


Yolanda Mageto, MD, MPH

Jeremy Richards, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Medical University of South Carolina
Member, American Thoracic Society

Ginger Spitzer

Ginger Spitzer
Executive Director
Foundation for Sarcoidosis Research
Member, ATS Public Advisory Roundtable


ATS Sarcoidosis PARtner
Foundation for Sarcoidosis Research



The Foundation for Sarcoidosis Research (FSR) is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization dedicated to finding a cure for this disease and to improving care for sarcoidosis patients. Since its establishment in 2000, FSR has funded numerous domestic and international research efforts and has worked diligently to provide resources to thousands. FSR provides funding and collaborations for research and initiatives which focus on the understanding of sarcoidosis, addresses the causes of the disease, counters the suffering of patients, and advances the potential for a cure.