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J Bronchology Interv Pulmonol. 2018 Apr;25(2):148-151. doi: 10.1097/LBR.0000000000000453.

Sarcoidosis With Pleural Effusion as the Presenting Symptom.

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Division of Thoracic Surgery and Interventional Pulmonology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.


A 65-year-old woman, never smoker, with medical history of hypertension, nonischemic cardiomyopathy, and moderate pulmonary hypertension presented with symptomatic bilateral pleural effusions. Thoracentesis revealed a lymphocyte predominant transudate and was negative for malignancy, microbiologic cultures were negative for an infectious cause. Chest tomography showed mediastinal and bilateral hilar lymphadenopathy, lymph node biopsy with endobronchial ultrasound-guided transbronchial needle aspiration showed non-necrotizing granulomas compatible with sarcoidosis. Echocardiogram showed ejection fraction of 45% and cardiac workup for sarcoid involvement was negative. Despite overall clinical management with diuretics, pleural effusion persisted and the patient underwent medical thoracoscopy with pleural biopsy. Biopsy showed noncaseating granulomas consistent with sarcoid, with all stains and microbiologic cultures negative for an infectious etiology. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first described case of sarcoidosis presenting as large transudative pleural effusion.

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