About Giant Cell Arteritis

Giant cell arteritis (GCA) is a chronic systemic vasculitis of medium and large sized arteritis (includes aorta and its branches).

  • Most common vasculitis in people >50 yo
  • Incidence increases with age
    • 10x more common in patients in their 80s than those in their 50s-60s
  • Temporal arteritis can be a manifestation of giant cell arteritis, but this form of vasculitis may also involve large arteries such as the aorta, carotid, and subclavian arteries.
  • Requires immediate treatment with high-dose glucocorticoids due to risk of blindness
  • 40-60% of patients with GCA have polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) symptoms, while 15-20% of patients with PMR will develop GCA.
    • Important to screen for GCA signs and symptoms in a patient with PMR!
  • Increased risk of thoracic aortic aneurysm (TAA) even 5+ years after diagnosis