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Cranial ultrasound may replace temporal artery biopsy in diagnosis of giant cell arteritis
Date:6/12/2014

A new study presented for the first time today at the European League Against Rheumatism Annual Congress (EULAR 2014), shows that cranial ultrasound has a greater sensitivity than temporal artery biopsy,* and a comparable specificity in the diagnosis of Giant Cell Arteritis (GCA).1

Giant Cell Arteritis (GCA), a condition in which medium and large arteries mainly in the head and neck, become inflamed and narrowed, can cause blindness due to occlusion of the artery supplying the back of the eye. It is therefore essential that a prompt, accurate diagnosis of GCA is made and treatment with high dose steroids started as soon as possible. Currently there are no 100% accurate diagnostic tests for GCA. Patients typically present with severe headache and scalp tenderness located to one or both sides of the forehead. However, GCA can be difficult to distinguish from other less serious causes of headache.

In this study, cranial ultrasound was the strongest predictor for a diagnosis of GCA when results were evaluated against a confirmed clinical diagnosis at three months. In contrast, the existing American College of Rheumatology (ACR) criteria that include TAB, when used alone, were insufficiently specific to accurately predict or exclude the diagnosis of GCA at three months. Relying on ACR criteria alone would therefore be leaving patients at risk of missing out on potentially sight-saving steroid treatment, or of being treated with high dose steroids unnecessarily.

"Although temporal artery biopsy (TAB) has historically been considered the 'gold standard' diagnostic test for GCA, the exciting results of this new study suggest cranial ultrasound may soon replace TAB in the assessment of patients with a suspected diagnosis of GCA in routine clinical practice," said lead author Dr Adam Croft from the Centre for Translational Inflammation Research, University of Birmingham, UK.

"Patients with symptoms and signs of GCA can now be offered a much
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Contact: EULAR Press Office
eularpressoffice@cohnwolfe.com
44-078-801-73209
European League Against Rheumatism
Source:Eurekalert

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