Temporal arteritis, a panarteritis occurring in the older population, with female predominance, may present with localised scalp pain and tenderness. The triad of visual disturbances, jaw claudication and new-onset headache, also in combination with scalp symptoms and signs, should arouse suspicion of temporal arteritis. The patient’s sight and life may be preserved by early diagnosis and management.
- This article describes three patients with biopsy-proven temporal arteritis, all of whom presented with scalp symptoms and signs before developing vision loss.
- To prevent sight- and life-threatening complications, early diagnosis and emergent management of temporal arteritis with corticosteroids are of paramount importance.
- The classic triad of symptoms of temporal arteritis comprises new-onset headache, visual disturbance and jaw claudication; however, scalp pain and tenderness can be early features of this condition and recognition of these can aid the clinician in making an early diagnosis.
- Awareness of the differential diagnoses for scalp pain and tenderness assist the diagnosis.
- A template summarising the 42 symptoms and signs of temporal arteritis, including three newly recognised signs, is useful for guiding diagnosis.
- Temporal arteritis is optimally managed using a multidisciplinary approach with input from the GP, a rheumatologist, an ophthalmologist and a pathologist.