Current Rheumatology Reports

, Volume 12, Issue 6, pp 436–442 | Cite as

Giant Cell Arteritis: Epidemiology, Diagnosis, and Management

  • Miguel A. Gonzalez-GayEmail author
  • Cristina Martinez-Dubois
  • Mario Agudo
  • Orlando Pompei
  • Ricardo Blanco
  • Javier Llorca


Giant cell arteritis (GCA), also called temporal arteritis, is a vasculitis that affects large and middle-sized blood vessels—with predisposition to the involvement of cranial arteries derived from the carotid artery—in individuals older than 50 years of age. Familial aggregation of GCA has been observed. Incidence of GCA is higher in white individuals than those of other ethnicities, particularly those of Scandinavian background. A temporal artery biopsy is the gold standard test for the diagnosis of GCA. Several imaging modalities, in particular ultrasonography, are useful in the diagnosis of GCA. Corticosteroids are the cornerstone of treatment in GCA. Alternative, steroid-sparing drugs, particularly methotrexate, should be considered in GCA patients with severe corticosteroid-related side effects and/or in those who require prolonged corticosteroid therapy due to relapses of the disease.


Giant cell arteritis Incidence Temporal artery biopsy Ultrasonography Corticosteroids 



No potential conflicts of interest relevant to this article were reported.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Miguel A. Gonzalez-Gay
    • 1
    Email author
  • Cristina Martinez-Dubois
    • 1
  • Mario Agudo
    • 1
  • Orlando Pompei
    • 1
  • Ricardo Blanco
    • 1
  • Javier Llorca
    • 1
  1. 1.Rheumatology DivisionHospital Universitario Marques de ValdecillaSantanderSpain

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