Temporal Arteritis

Also called “Giant Cell Arteritis,” mean age in one series was 72, all patients are >50.  It’s most common among people of northern European descent, especially Scandinavian (incidence about 1 in 4000 people >50).  Blindness can occur abruptly, or may be presaged by a variety of visual symptoms.

For older patients with new headaches, order a sed rate.  If it’s very high, start prednisone 60 mg daily and arrange a biopsy within 2 weeks.

Other findings may (or may not) include low grade fever, thickened or pulseless temporal artery, jaw claudication [pain while eating or speaking], anemia of chronic disease, an abnormal optic disk, and visual changes.

See posting Acute Headache – 3.