Diagnosing Sarcoidosis

Sarcoidosis - Tests Used For Diagnosis Part 2

Scans & Other Procedures

CT Scan

Computed tomographic scans (CT scans) can provide a more detailed image of an affected area compared to an x ray.

Multiple x ray images are taken and assimilated using a computer to form a 2d cross sectional image. CT scans are a non-invasive tool.

However, they are not often used to diagnose sarcoidosis as they subject a person to higher levels of radiation compared to x ray. CT scanners are also expensive.

CT scans are more likely to be used to assess tissue damage to specific areas not easily accessible for biopsy such as the spinal cord, nerves and the brain.

MRI Scan
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a non-invasive procedure which uses powerful magnets and radio waves to see inside the body. MRI provides an unparalleled view inside the body and can show the symptoms of sarcoidosis in the organs including inflammation and scarring of tissue. MRI is a safe procedure with no known hazards.
Thallium & Gallium Scans

Thallium & gallium are radioactive elements which can be put into the body and their movements 'traced'. These 'tracers' are usually injected into the body - the body is then scanned at a specified time after injection.

Thallium & gallium can collect in areas of inflammation which indicates the possibility of sarcoidosis in the body. Inflammation could be caused by another disease so other tests such be used for a more definite diagnosis.

Eye Test

People diagnosed with sarcoidosis should be referred to an eye doctor (ophthalmologist). An eye test can help monitor the disease even if no symptoms are present in the eye.

People with sarcoidosis may be prescribed a drug known as Plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine) to treat sarcoidosis. Side effects of this drug can affect vision so eyes should be tested periodically.