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November 1956

Sarcoidosis Associated with Sudden Death During Mitral Valvulotomy

Author Affiliations

New York
From the Department of Surgery, The New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center.

AMA Arch Surg. 1956;73(5):862-869. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1956.01280050130024

The manifold signs and symptoms associated with sarcoidosis have in recent years received considerable attention. Originally described as a disease of the skin and lymph nodes, it is now recognized as a systemic disease of unknown etiology which may be localized or widespread in any organ or part of the body.

Sarcoidosis itself as a cause of death is not frequent. It is only when sarcoid involves the heart (primarily, or secondarily following pulmonary fibrosis), the brain, or, possibly, the kidneys, that the uncomplicated disease proves fatal. Death generally is due to some complication.

Perhaps the commonest complication is. heart failure secondary to extensive involvement of the lungs producing chronic fibrosis or emphysema.1

Since Bernstein,2 in 1929, first described sarcoid lesions in the heart, attention has been focused on this disease as an infrequent cause of sudden death, by involvement of that organ. In 92 autopsies as reported