Rationale: It has been nearly 20 years since sarcoidosis mortality was examined at the population level in the United States.
Objectives: To examine mortality rates and underlying causes of death among United States decedents with sarcoidosis from 1988–2007.
Methods: We used data from the National Center for Health Statistics to (1) calculate age-adjusted sarcoidosis-associated mortality rates; (2) examine how those rates differ by age, sex, and race and ethnicity; and (3) determine underlying causes of death among sarcoidosis decedents.
Measurements and Main Results: From 1988–2007, there were 46,450,489 deaths in the United States and 23,679 decedents with sarcoidosis mentioned on their death certificates. Over this time, the age-adjusted, sarcoidosis-related mortality rate increased 50.5% in women and 30.1% in men. The greatest absolute increase in death rates was among non-Hispanic black females. Regardless of sex or race, mortality rates climbed most in decedents 55 years or older. The most common cause of death was sarcoidosis itself. Younger sarcoidosis decedents with pulmonary fibrosis were more likely to be black than white, and younger sarcoidosis decedents were more likely than similarly aged decedents in the general population to have a cardiac cause contribute to death.
Conclusions: From 1988–2007, sarcoidosis-related mortality rates increased significantly, particularly in non-Hispanic black females aged 55 years or older. The underlying cause of death in most patients with sarcoidosis was the disease itself. Among young sarcoidosis decedents, those with pulmonary fibrosis or a cardiac cause contributing to death were more likely to be black than white.