BACKGROUND Vascular involvement in sarcoidosis is very rare and is characterized by preferential involvement of large vessels similar to that observed in Takayasu's disease. Distinguishing between these two diseases is often difficult and constitutes a diagnostic pitfall. The association between sarcoidosis and Takayasu's arteritis is not coincidental and a common physiopathological factor may exist; it suggests a possible aetiopathogenetic relationship between sarcoidosis and Takayasu's arteritis and casts doubt on whether this form of vasculitis is a disease in its own right or simply a syndrome caused by other diseases. CASE REPORT We report the case of a man with a 10-year history of cutaneous and pulmonary sarcoidosis who developed ischaemia of the right upper limb evocative of Takayasu's arteritis. The patient was successfully treated with oral steroids and methotrexate. DISCUSSION This case prompts discussion about the relationship between Takayasu's disease and sarcoidosis. Physicians should be aware of the possible occurrence of granulomatous arteritis during the course of sarcoidosis which requires a special work-up.