We evaluated the clinical and myopathological features of all patients with granulomas in muscle biopsy specimens identified over a 5-year period (1992-1996) at the Washington University Medical Center. Ten patients were found to have granulomas in their muscle biopsy specimens. Of these, eight patients had myopathic changes. Seven had dysphagia as a major functional difficulty during the course of their disease. None had elevated levels of serum creatine kinase (CK). Four of the patients with myopathy had systemic sarcoidosis and relatively severe proximal weakness with functional disability. Treatment with corticosteroids was followed by marked improvement in strength and functional disability. The four other patients with myopathy had no systemic signs of sarcoidosis. Weakness was especially prominent distally in three of these patients. The two patients in this group treated with corticosteroids did not improve. The final two patients, who had granulomas in muscle but no myopathic changes, had clinical syndromes of mononeuritis multiplex and eosinophilic fasciitis (Shulman syndrome). We conclude that granulomatous myopathy, in the presence or absence of systemic sarcoidosis, is commonly associated with dysphagia (87%) and a normal serum CK. Clinical features in patients with sarcoidosis included severe proximal weakness with functional disability that often responded to corticosteroid treatment. Granulomatous myopathy without systemic sarcoidosis was associated with milder, but more predominantly distal weakness.