Sarcoidosis in the national veteran population: Association of ocular inflammation and mortality

Andrea D. Birnbaum*, Dustin D. French, Mehdi Mirsaeidi, Sarah Wehrli

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Purpose To describe the distribution of ocular sarcoidosis in the veteran population and to determine the association between ocular disease and all-cause mortality. Design Retrospective review. Methods The Veterans Health Administration National Patient Care Database information on medical diagnoses, date of diagnosis, age, race, gender, and Veterans Administration medical center station number for site-specific calculations for fiscal years 2010 through 2012 was collected. Mortality data were obtained from the Beneficiary Identification Records Locator Subsystem. The patient cohort was identified with a primary diagnosis of sarcoidosis using International Classification of Disease, ninth edition, code of 135 in outpatient treatment files for the study period. The sarcoidosis patients were divided into those with uveitis or orbital inflammation (defined as ocular inflammation for this study) and those without uveitis or orbital inflammation. Survival analysis was performed using the Cox proportional hazard method. Main Outcome Measure Association between ocular inflammation and 1-year mortality. Results Of 15 130 subjects with sarcoidosis, 3364 (22.2%) were evaluated in an eye clinic within a Veterans Administration Medical Center. Most patients were diagnosed with anterior uveitis (n = 1013; 80.7% of ocular inflammation), and the least common diagnosis was orbital granuloma (n = 28; 2.2% of ocular inflammation). Male gender was protective to the development of uveitis (estimate, 0.76; 95% confidence interval, 0.65-0.88; P = 0.0005). The overall 1-year all-cause mortality for all patients with a diagnosis of sarcoidosis was 2.0%. Ocular inflammation was associated with a decrease in 1-year all-cause mortality (simple model: hazard ratio, 0.36; P = 0.0015; complex model: hazard ratio, 0.35; P = 0.013). Conclusions Veterans with ocular inflammation had significantly lower 1-year all-cause mortality than those without documented ocular inflammation. The reason for this finding remains to be established.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)934-938
Number of pages5
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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