Giant Cell Arteritis

Giant cell Arteritis is the most common primary systemic vasculitis.  The disease occurs almost exclusively in people over age 50, with an annual incidence of 15 to 25 per 100,000.   Incidence rates vary significantly depending on ethnicity. The highest rates are in whites, particularly those of North European descent. Incidence rates progressively increase after age 50. The disease is more prevalent in women (2:1).  Its cause is unknown; both genetic and environmental factors are thought to play a role. (adapted from Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine)

Digital subtraction angiography showing occlusion of the left subclavian artery and the left common carotid artery (black arrow, brachiocephalic dilatation, and post dilatation stenosis (red arrow), mouseover for arrows

The gold standard for diagnosing temporal arteritis is by biopsy.  giant cells are visible infiltrating  the tissue. 

Temporal arteritis with intense inflammatory infiltrate within the arterial wall causing intimal thickening with nearly complete occlusion of the arterial lumen (hematoxylin and eosin, × 90).

Click here for Cleveland Clinic Article

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