Peer Reviewed
Rheumatology clinic

Giant cell (temporal) arteritis: what GPs need to know

Anthony M Sammel, Tricia L Drew, Julia P Low, Arvin K Damodaran
Giant cell (temporal) arteritis is a large vessel vasculitis that characteristically involves the cranial arteries in people over the age of 50 years. Timely recognition and immediate treatment with corticosteroids aims to prevent blindness and other complications. Close monitoring with specialist input helps minimise disease morbidity and treatment-related complications.
Key Points

    Giant cell arteritis (GCA), also known as temporal arteritis, is a chronic medium to large vessel vasculitis that occurs in people over the age of 50 years. It commonly involves the cranial arteries, and may cause acute irreversible visual loss. Prompt recognition of the key clinical and laboratory features allows early initiation of corticosteroid therapy with the aim of preventing blindness and other complications. Longer term monitoring and treatment focuses on preventing relapse and minimising harms from prolonged corticosteroid use.

    Picture credit: © BSIP/ (Fluoroscein angiography, temporal arteritis.)

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