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Clin Exp Rheumatol. 1993 Nov-Dec;11(6):685-91.

Sarcoidosis of early onset. A challenge for the pediatric rheumatologist.

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  • 1Children's Hospital, Department of Pediatric Rheumatology, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.


The clinical picture of twelve patients with sarcoidosis commencing under 4 years of age is presented. Follow-up ranged from 5 to 30 years with a mean of 11.5 years. Two patients were mother and daughter, the other cases were sporadic. All children developed the typical symptom triad of rash, polyarthritis and uveitis with onset before their 4th birthday. Further symptoms comprised fever, hepatosplenomegaly, parotid swelling and hypertension. Eight patients suffered from cardiac and four from cerebral involvement; one girl died from cerebral involvement at the age of 12. Two developed severe lung changes. The prognosis was poor with sequelae in all patients. Several children seem to have improved on immunosuppressive therapy. Early onset sarcoidosis is a multisystemic granulomatous disease; since polyarthritis is a dominant manifestation, many patients are diagnosed as having juvenile chronic arthritis. The early onset form must be distinguished from later onset sarcoidosis, which mainly affects children over 8 years of age or young adults. The disease types differ in their presentation, symptoms, course and prognosis; some of the clinical features and the histology, however, are identical.

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