(Giant Cell Arteritis)
Temporal arteritis is a condition of inflammation of the arteries. It affects the head, neck, upper body, and arms. The temporal artery is most often affected. It runs over the temple, to the outside of the eye. In extreme or untreated cases, this condition can lead to blindness or strokes. Two other terms often associated with this condition include:
The cause of temporal arteritis is not known. It may result from an immune response in the body.
Factors that increase your risk of temporal arteritis include:
Symptoms may include:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Diagnosis is based on the occurrence of certain factors, including:
Tests may include:
Treatment may include:
This therapy is used to decrease the swelling and inflammation. It will also help decrease the risk of blindness. At first, high doses of prednisone are often given. The doses are then tapered off. Therapy is often continued for several years.
Long-term use of corticosteroids has some harmful side effects. This may include:
Your doctor may recommend that you take low-dose aspirin every day. This may help to reduce the risk of vision loss associated with temporal arteritis.
American Academy of Family Physicians
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Canadian Cardiovascular Society
Canadian Society of Otolaryngology
American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: http://www.aafp.org .
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Larsson K, Mellström D, Nordborg C, Odén A, Nordborg E. Early menopause, low body mass index, and smoking are independent risk factors for developing giant cell arteritis. Ann Rheum Dis. 2006;65:529-532.
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National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov .
Parikh M, Miller NR, Lee AG, et al. Prevalence of a normal c-reactive protein with an elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate in biopsy-proven giant cell arteritis. Ophthalmology . 2006;113(10):1842-1845.
Smetana GW, Shmerling RH. Does this patient have temporal arteritis? JAMA. 2002; 287:92.
Temporal arteritis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated December 2009. Accessed February 10, 2010.
University of Southern California Department of Neurosurgery website. Available at: http://archsurg.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/139/11/1146 .
Last reviewed September 2012 by Michael J. Fucci, DO