print   Print full article

Testing for sarcoidosis

The goals of testing are to diagnose sarcoidosis, evaluate its severity, and monitor its course over time.
Testing is also used to distinguish sarcoidosis from conditions with similar symptoms and from conditions that are also associated with the developement of granulomas, such as tuberculosis, and some fungal infections.

Laboratory Tests
Tissue biopsy is the primary test used to confirm a diagnosis of sarcoidosis; characteristic changes in the structure of the tissue can be seen under the microscope. Other laboratory tests are not specific for sarcoidosis, but they are helpful in assessing disease activity, looking for damage to individual organs, and ruling out other diseases that may cause similar problems. Tests that may be useful include:
Non-laboratory Tests
  • Chest X-ray- a common and useful test for detecting lung involvement; in people without symptoms, granulomas may first be discovered when they have an X-ray for another reason.
  • Lung function tests are performed to evaluate lung involvement and its severity. (For more on these, read Johns Hopkins Medicine Health Library: Pulmonary Function Tests.)
  • CT (computed tomography), MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), gallium scan, or other imaging scans can sometimes ordered to help diagnose and evaluate sarcoidosis. (visit Inside Radiology for additional details on these imaging tests.)

Last Review Date: March 18th, 2019