Imaging in Giant Cell Arteritis

  • Asad Khan
  • Bhaskar DasguptaEmail author
Imaging (P Conaghan, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Imaging


Much progress has been made in the use of imaging as a diagnostic tool in giant cell arteritis (GCA), which assists in the management of patients where the initial diagnosis is unclear. This includes patients with atypical cranial symptoms, or with predominantly systemic, constitutional or limb symptoms. Ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging are capable of visualising both the cranial and extracranial large vessel circulation, with vessel wall thickening and stenotic lesions being visualised. Computed tomographic angiography is helpful in visualising the aorta for aneurysm complicating GCA but can also detect vessel wall thickening in established large vessel vasculitis. PET-CT is a very sensitive test for early vascular inflammation in extracranial large vessel vasculitis, before aneurysmal or stenotic lesions have developed, of use in the patient with unexplained constitutional symptoms. The place of imaging in the follow-up of GCA is being investigated, and repeated imaging may be useful in select cases. Generally, vascular abnormalities become less defined once glucocorticoid treatment has been started, and therefore, imaging studies must be conducted early as part of a GCA fast-track assessment.


Giant cell arteritis Imaging Ultrasound CT PET-CT MRI 


Compliance with Ethics Guidelines

Conflict of Interest

Asad Khan and Bhaskar Dasgupta declare no conflicts of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by the authors.


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

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of RheumatologySouthend University Hospital NHS Foundation TrustWestcliff-on-SeaUK
  2. 2.University of EssexColchesterUK
  3. 3.Anglia Ruskin UniversityCambridgeUK

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