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Sarcoidosis

Sarcoidosis and Stroke

06/20/2011

Question:

I am 63 years of age and until I suffered a stroke a year ago, I believed I was in good health. I have never smoked, only drink occasionally and in moderation and have not/ do not have high blood pressure. With physiotherapy, I made good progress in recovering from my stroke, which had affected balance and limb movement on my left side. 6 months later, I developed a swelling on the left side of my neck and encountered great fatigue. Needle neck biopsies resulted in a diagnosis of Squamus cell carcinoma of the lymph gland. An operation was carried out and then path. lab. analysis of the removed tissue indicated the cancer diagnosis was incorrect and instead revealed I was suffering from Sarcoidosis. A CT scan had revealed that the site of my stroke was a small blood vessel deep in the thalmus, but my clinicians do not know why I suffered a stroke in the first place. Could the stroke have been caused by the sarcoidosis, which no-one suspected I had at that time?

Answer:

Dear Sir/Madam, Sarcoidosis involving the central nervous system, also known as "neurosarcoidosis", is often difficult to diagnose and can be confused with other diseases of the brain. For instance, neurosarcoidosis can mimic brain tumors, stroke, or multiple sclerosis. While it is possible that sarcoidosis was the cause of your stroke symptoms, it would be unusual for neurosarcoidosis to remain stable or improve (as in your case) without specific treatment.

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Response by:

Elliott D Crouser, MD Elliott D Crouser, MD
Associate Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University