What Is Lung Sarcoidosis?

Sarcoidosis is a problem with inflammation that leads to the development of tiny collections of inflammatory cells in different parts of your body. The inflammation is not caused by an infection or auto-immune disease, but instead from something you've inhaled. The body is tricked into thinking there's an infection, which triggers the inflammation. Sarcoidosis inflammation can last a long time, sometimes for years, and can lead to temporary or permanent damage. Some cases of sarcoidosis do resolve themselves spontaneously. However, if your sarcoidosis resolves, you may experience a recurrence, also called a flare, in the future.

For patients with frequent flares or ongoing inflammation, you may require treatment with immune suppressing medication. In rare cases, sarcoid inflammation can cause scarring in the lungs, which is permanent and doesn't improve with medication.

What are the Symptoms of Sarcoidosis?

Symptoms of sarcoidosis include:

  • Shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing
  • Cough
  • Chest tightness

Diagnosis of Lung Sarcoidosis

Diagnosing sarcoidosis can be challenging, both because you may not present with many symptoms and also because sarcoidosis symptoms resemble symptoms to numerous other conditions. Your physician will require a full physical exam and will want to rule out other diseases before pinpointing a diagnosis. You may undergo any or all of the following tests:

  • Chest X-ray
  • CT Scan of the lungs
  • PET scan
  • MRI
  • Exercise test
  • Pulmonary function test
  • Lung tests
  • Biopsies

Once a detailed diagnosis is reached, your physician will determine the best treatment options for you.

Treatment at Penn

If your sarcoiditis is severe, you may require medication. Penn Medicine's team has comprehensive knowledge of available medications and treatments and is proficient in identifying the best treatment for you.

If your sarcoidosis has caused enough damage that surgery is required, know that Penn is a national leader in lung transplantation. Penn Medicine's specialized surgeons offer medical treatments not available at other centers and perform four times as many lung transplants as any other hospital in the region. Penn specialists excel in procedures in the area of chest, lung and artificial breathing operations, outperforming any other area hospital.

When you choose Penn, you choose to work with a dedicated team offering the most innovative treatments and surgeries. Penn physicians continue to lead the field, advancing the science of lung care.

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