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Epidemiology of Sarcoidosis in U.S. Veterans from 2003 to 2019.

Seedahmed MI, Baugh AD, Albirair MT, Luo Y, Chen J, McCulloch CE, Whooley MA, Koth LL, Arjomandi M. Epidemiology of Sarcoidosis in U.S. Veterans from 2003 to 2019. Annals of the American Thoracic Society. 2023 Jun 1; 20(6):797-806.

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United States veterans represent an important population to study sarcoidosis. Their unique history of environmental exposures, wide geographic distribution, and long-term enrollment in a single integrated healthcare system provides an unparalleled opportunity to understand the incidence, prevalence, and risk factors for sarcoidosis. To determine the epidemiology, patient characteristics, geographic distribution, and associated risk factors of sarcoidosis among U.S. veterans. We used data from the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) electronic health record system between 2003 and 2019 to evaluate the annual incidence, prevalence, and geographic distribution of sarcoidosis (defined using the International Classification of Diseases codes). We used multivariate logistic regression to examine patient characteristics associated with sarcoidosis incidence. Among more than 13 million veterans who received care through or paid for by the VHA, 23,747 (0.20%) incident diagnoses of sarcoidosis were identified. Compared with selected VHA control subjects using propensity score matching, veterans with sarcoidosis were more likely to be female (13.5% vs. 9.0%), of Black race (52.2% vs. 17.0%), and ever-tobacco users (74.2% vs. 64.5%). There was an increase in the annual incidence of sarcoidosis between 2004 and 2019 (from 38 to 52 cases/100,000 person-years) and the annual prevalence between 2003 and 2019 (from 79 to 141 cases/100,000 persons). In a multivariate logistic regression model, Black race (odds ratio [OR], 4.49; 95% confidence interval [CI], 4.33-4.65), female sex (OR, 1.64; 95% CI, 1.56-1.73), living in the Northeast compared with the western region (OR, 1.57; 95% CI, 1.48-1.67), history of tobacco use (OR, 1.36; 95% CI, 1.31-1.41), and serving in the Army, Air Force, or multiple branches compared with the Navy (OR, 1.08; 95% CI, 1.03-1.13; OR, 1.10; 95% CI, 1.04-1.17; OR, 1.27; 95% CI, 1.16-1.39, respectively) were significantly associated with incident sarcoidosis (? < 0.0001). The incidence and prevalence of sarcoidosis are higher among veterans than in the general population. Alongside traditionally recognized risk factors such as Black race and female sex, we found that a history of tobacco use within the Veterans Affairs population and serving in the Army, Air Force, or multiple service branches were associated with increased sarcoidosis risk.

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