Temporal Artery Biopsy is not Required in all Cases of Suspected Giant Cell Arteritis

Department of Academic Surgery, Cork University Hospital, Wilton, Cork, Ireland.
Annals of Vascular Surgery (Impact Factor: 1.17). 01/2012; 26(5):649-54. DOI: 10.1016/j.avsg.2011.10.009
Source: PubMed


Temporal artery biopsy (TAB) is performed during the diagnostic workup for giant cell arteritis (GCA), a vasculitis with the potential to cause irreversible blindness or stroke. However, treatment is often started on clinical grounds, and TAB result frequently does not influence patient management. The aim of this study was to assess the need for TAB in cases of suspected GCA.
We performed a retrospective review of 185 TABs performed in our institution from 1990 to 2010. Patients were identified through the Hospital In-Patient Enquiry database and theater records. Clinical findings, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, steroid treatment preoperatively, American College of Rheumatology (ACR) criteria for GCA score, biopsy result, and follow-up were recorded.
Fifty-eight (31.4%) biopsies were positive for GCA. Presence of jaw claudication (P = 0.001), abnormal fundoscopy (P = 0.001), and raised erythrocyte sedimentation rate (P = 0.001) were significantly associated with GCA. The strongest association with positive biopsy was seen with the prebiopsy ACR score (P < 0.001). Twenty-four (13.7%) patients had undergone biopsy, despite no potential for meeting ACR criteria preoperatively. None of these were positive. Overall, 29 (16.4%) patients had management altered by TAB result.
Our results confirm that TAB does not affect management in the majority of patients with suspected GCA. We conclude that TAB has benefit only for patients who score 2 or 3 on the ACR criteria for GCA without biopsy.

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    • "An isolated, inflammatory periadventitial infiltrate[20,21]or vasculitis (rarely necrotizing) of small vessels surrounding the temporal artery212223is less common and can also indicate a temporal artery involvement of another systemic vasculitis[21,22,24]. The TAB is positive in 49%–85% of GCA patients[14,25262728. These variations probably reflect differences in the clinical and histological definitions of GCA as well as technical differences in obtaining and processing the biopsy. "
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose: Management of giant cell arteritis (GCA, Horton's disease) involves many uncertainties. This work was undertaken to establish French recommendations for GCA management. Methods: Recommendations were developed by a multidisciplinary panel of 33 physicians, members of the French Study Group for Large Vessel Vasculitis (Groupe d'étude français des artérites des gros vaisseaux [GEFA]). The topics to be addressed, selected from proposals by group members, were assigned to subgroups to summarize the available literature and draft recommendations. Following an iterative consensus-seeking process that yielded consensus recommendations, the degree of agreement among panel members was evaluated with a 5-point Likert scale. A recommendation was approved when ≥ 80% of the voters agreed or strongly agreed. Results: The 15 retained topics resulted in 31 consensus recommendations focusing on GCA nomenclature and classification, the role of temporal artery biopsy and medical imaging in the diagnosis, indications and search modalities for involvement of the aorta and its branches, the glucocorticoid regimen to prescribe, treatment of complicated GCA, indications for use of immunosuppressants or targeted biologic therapies, adjunctive treatment measures, and management of relapse and recurrence. Conclusions: The recommendations, which will be updated regularly, are intended to guide and harmonize the standards of GCA management.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2016 · La Revue de Médecine Interne
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    • "Several studies evaluating temporal artery biopsies show positive biopsy results in 20–31%. Positive biopsy results are reported to be correlated with higher age and inflammation, higher score on American College of Rheumatology (ACR) criteria and specimen length [23] [26] [27]. "
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    ABSTRACT: In the differential diagnostic process for rheumatic inflammatory and/or connective tissue diseases (CTDs), history taking and physical examination are of main importance, more than additional investigations, as many diagnoses are clinical diagnoses with specific clinical/patterns and gold standards are often lacking. In rheumatic diseases and, especially, CTD, many organ systems apart from the joints may be involved. These include the skin and underlying tissues, muscles, salivary glands, nerves, kidneys and blood vessels. Biopsy specimens of these tissues may be helpful in establishing a diagnosis, in assessing the extent and severity of organ involvement and sometimes in monitoring therapy. In this chapter, practical information is described regarding which clinical practice might indicate a need for biopsy, and on how to prepare the patient, how to perform the biopsy and handle the biopsy specimen. In addition, the limitations and complications one should be cautious of are described. For full details of the clinical spectrum of the diseases and the histopathology, the reader is kindly referred to relevant textbooks.
    Preview · Article · Apr 2013 · Best practice & research. Clinical rheumatology

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