Ultrasound in the diagnosis and management of giant cell arteritis.

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Ultrasound in the diagnosis and management of giant cell arteritis.

Rheumatology (Oxford). 2018 02 01;57(suppl_2):ii22-ii31

Authors: Schmidt WA

US has become an important diagnostic tool for musculoskeletal diseases. Because of its wide availability in rheumatology practice, US has also been applied in other rheumatic diseases such as GCA. In acute GCA, US displays a non-compressible, hypoechoic, most commonly concentric arterial wall thickening. Temporal and axillary arteries should be examined in patients with suspected GCA and PMR. Additionally, almost all other large arteries, with the exception of the thoracic aorta, can be easily delineated by US. Many studies and several meta-analyses have been conducted to evaluate the diagnostic performance of US. US is more sensitive than temporal artery biopsy (TAB) because TAB evaluates only a limited anatomical region in a systemic disease. Most US studies arrive at specificities between 90 and 100% compared with the final clinical diagnosis. Reliability for reading US images and videos is excellent and comparable to reliability for reading TAB specimens. The advantage of US over other imaging techniques in GCA is its availability, safety and tolerability and its high resolution of 0.1 mm. Rheumatology departments are increasingly establishing fast-track clinics. Physicians can refer patients with suspected GCA within 24 h. Patients receive clinical and US examination by experienced specialists, establishing a clear diagnosis either before TAB or without the need for TAB. The introduction of fast-track clinics has led to a significant reduction of permanent vision loss. Furthermore, a process that primarily includes US is significantly more cost-effective than TAB.

PMID: 29982780 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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