Sarcoidosis - NYSORA | NYSORA


Learning objectives

  • Describe sarcoidosis
  • Anesthetic management

Definition and mechanism

  • Sarcoidosis is a disease characterized by the growth of tiny collections of inflammatory cells (granulomas) in any part of the body
  • Most commonly the lungs and lymph nodes
  • Less commonly affected are the eyes, skin, liver, and brain
  • The supraglottic region is commonly the site of sarcoid infiltration, and hilar lymphadenopathy can cause vocal cord palsy
  • Cardiac involvement is less common but potentially fatal
  • Unknown etiology
    • Thought to be an immune reaction to a trigger such as infection or chemicals 
  • Diagnosed by biopsy

Signs and symptoms

General symptomsSarcoidosis can begin with these signs and symptoms:
Swollen lymph nodes
Weight loss
Pain and swelling in joints, such as the ankles
Lung symptoms
Persistent dry cough
Shortness of breath
Chest pain
Skin symptoms
A rash of red or reddish-purple bumps
Disfiguring sores (lesions) on the nose, cheeks, and ears
Areas of skin that are darker or lighter in color
Growths under the skin (nodules), particularly around scars or tattoos
Eye symptomsBlurred vision
Eye pain
Burning, itching, or dry eyes
Severe redness
Sensitivity to light
Heart symptomsChest pain



Further reading

  • Pollard BJ, Kitchen, G. Handbook of Clinical Anaesthesia. Fourth Edition. CRC Press. 2018. 978-1-4987-6289-2.
  • Sanders, D., Rowland, R., Howell, T., 2016. Sarcoidosis and anaesthesia. BJA Education 16, 173–177.

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