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Pulmonary Sarcoidosis is a Disease That Can Eventually Lead to a Lung Transplant

Woman talking with doctorPulmonary sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease in the lungs. Small lumps of inflamed cells (granulomas) appear and accumulate in the breathing tubes (bronchioles), air sacs (alveoli), or nearby lymph nodes. These granulomas can sometimes heal on their own, but if they do not and remain inflamed, lung tissue can become damaged and scarring may occur. When the disease causes scarring, the lungs cannot hold as much air or properly pass oxygen into the bloodstream.

Patients with pulmonary sarcoidosis do not always express symptoms. However, some patients do exhibit symptoms such as:

  • Shortness of breath (dyspnea)
  • Wheezing and/or a chronic cough
  • Fatigue
  • Night sweats
  • Weight loss
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Fever
  • Pain in the chest, joints, and bones

While the exact cause of pulmonary sarcoidosis is not known, it is known that the disease tends to become worse over time after developing. Most patients can manage any symptoms that may arise by treating them with corticosteroids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), prescription inhalers, and/or immunosuppressive medications. However, if a patient has severe scarring or tissue damage or has permanent loss of lung function, more advanced treatments such as a lung transplant may be necessary. At Tampa General Hospital, we have treated many adult patients with pulmonary sarcoidosis, and have performed many successful single- and double-lung transplants. Our lung transplant program has performed an average of 42 lung transplants a year since 2006. We evaluate transplant patients on an individual basis using information provided on the physician-submitted lung transplant Cardiothoracic Transplant referral form, as well as other factors.

If you would like more information about Tampa General Hospital’s transplant selection criteria for patients with pulmonary sarcoidosis, please call 1-800-505-7769 (press 3 for the lung transplant program and ask for the referral coordinator), or call the coordinator directly at (813) 844-4088.