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Influence of corticosteroid treatment on MRI findings in giant cell arteritis

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Giant cell arteritis (GCA) remains a diagnostic challenge. With the use of a high-resolution MRI protocol, visualization of the superficial cranial arteries is feasible and mural inflammation can be assessed noninvasively. Until today, it is not known how soon inflammatory signals in diagnostic MR imaging vanish after initiation of treatment. Here, we report sequential MR imaging findings during the initial weeks of corticosteroid treatment in a 79-year-old female patient with histologically proven GCA. Mural inflammatory changes decreased within the first 2 weeks and have almost entirely vanished after 2 1/2 months of continued treatment. Moreover, MR angiography revealed sequential stenoses of the subclavian artery, which improved in variable extent with some residuals despite high dose steroid medication. This report underlines the value of high-resolution MRI in diagnosis and follow-up of GCA and illustrates the potential of MRI to detect and monitor intra- and extra-cranial involvement patterns of GCA in high detail.

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Correspondence to T. A. Bley.

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Bley, T.A., Ness, T., Warnatz, K. et al. Influence of corticosteroid treatment on MRI findings in giant cell arteritis. Clin Rheumatol 26, 1541–1543 (2007).

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