Objectives: The aim of the present study was to determine how the pattern and extent of sarcoidosis changes over time on serial high-resolution CT (HRCT) scans and to identify CT scan findings that might be helpful in predicting the prognosis of patients with the disease.
Methods: The initial and last HRCT scan findings of 40 patients with pulmonary sarcoidosis during a mean follow-up period of 7.4 years (range, 3 to 18 years) were evaluated retrospectively. HRCT scan findings then were correlated with the pulmonary function tests.
Results: Parenchymal abnormalities in most patients with a predominant nodular pattern (18 patients) and multiple large nodular pattern (8 patients) disappeared or decreased in size on long-term follow-up CT scans. A conglomeration pattern (five patients) shrank and evolved into bronchial distortion. The shrinkage of the conglomeration pattern correlated with a decline of FEV1/FVC ratio, despite an improvement in FVC. A ground-glass opacity pattern (five patients) and a consolidation pattern (three patients) evolved into honeycombing. The evolution of the ground-glass opacity and consolidation patterns into honeycombing occurred along with a decline in FVC, although the parenchymal abnormalities became smaller.
Conclusion: Patients with a predominantly ground-glass opacity pattern and consolidation pattern seen on the initial CT scan had a worse prognosis and were susceptible to developing severe respiratory insufficiency. The predominant patterns seen on the initial HRCT scan may be helpful in predicting the outcomes of patients with sarcoidosis.