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Year : 2009  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 20-24

Giant cell arteritis


UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Grand Forks, North Dakota, USA

Correspondence Address:
P Kaushik
UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Grand Forks, North Dakota, USA

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


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Giant cell arteritis (GCA) is probably the commonest type of large-vessel vasculitis seen in the United States (with a possible involvement of medium-sized vessels as well). The exact etiopathogenesis of GCA is still not fully understood. Clinical manifestations of GCA can be vast and confusing. Up to 22.5% patients may have a 'normal' erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) before treatment. Early detection (with a high index of suspicion) with early initiation of treatment can be 'sight as well as life saving'. Treatment should not be delayed until the results of a temporal artery biopsy are obtained. Newer radiographic techniques including color-Doppler ultrasonography and contrast enhanced 3T MRA may facilitate/increase the yield; and may even obviate the need for a temporal artery biopsy (especially because temporal artery biopsy can be 'read as negative' in a significant proportion of cases). Some recent advances in genetics, pathophysiology, treatment and outcome are also reviewed in this article.


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