BACKGROUND: Patients with pulmonary sarcoidosis commonly present with a dry cough; a productive cough suggests a complicating airway infection or an alternative diagnosis such as tuberculosis or bronchiectasis.
CASE PRESENTATION: A 36-year-old European (Frisian) woman recently diagnosed with pulmonary sarcoidosis presented with debilitating exertional dyspnea and cough productive of glazy mucoid sputum. Several different attempts including video-assisted thoracoscopic biopsies failed to reach a second or alternative diagnosis including an infectious, autoimmune or collagen-vascular condition. She responded to steroids but with poor tolerance to this treatment, which could not be tapered. After she was started on anti-tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) therapy with infliximab, 200 mg at three-monthly intervals, she has been fine for well over a decade.
CONCLUSIONS: In this patient with sarcoidosis who had a productive cough accompanied by fever, an extensive workup and prolonged follow-up, an alternative or second diagnosis could be ruled out; we therefore conclude that this highly unusual presentation is part of the clinical spectrum of sarcoidosis.
- Sarcoidosis, Pulmonary/complications