Temporal Arteritis

Temporal arteritis is also referred to as giant cell arteritis (GCA). The peak incidence is in patients over 70, and it is rare in patients under 50.

If untreated, visual loss occurs in more than one-third of patients.

Over 80% of patients present with headache. The headache may be continuous, or intermittent, and is typically worse after cold exposure. The pain is localised to the fronto-temporal region, and is sharp or throbbing.

Associated symptoms include:

  • Jaw claudication
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Night sweats
  • Diplopia
  • Amaurosis fugax

There is an association with polymyalgia rheumatica.

Classically, there is tenderness to palpation over the temples or loss of pulsation of the temporal artery.

Investigations should include an ESR and referral for temporal artery biopsy. However, treatment with high dose steroids should be commenced immediately and not delayed waiting for investigations