Giant cell /temporal arteritis - the most common of the vasculitides. It is a granulomatous inflammation of arteries of large to small size. It affects principally the arteries in the head-especially the temporal arteries but also the vertebral and ophthalmic arteries. Also affection of aorta leads to giant cell aortitis
Pathology : Giant cells present in the wall the involved artery. Thrombus found in lumen of the artery – which is composed of a granulomatous infiltrate. Association with HLA – DR antigen and presence of clonal T cells at multiple affected sites.
Clinical Features :
Occurs in older population, at least 50 yrs old.
Patient presents with headache and temporal pain. Visual symptoms are common, and blindness is a complication in 50% of cases.
Temporal Artery will feel firm and nodular. Pain on palpation of artery is common finding.
Treatment: responds well to steroids.