Predictive value of positive temporal artery biopsies in patients with clinically suspected giant cell arteritis considering temporal artery ultrasound findings
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To investigate the impact of ocular symptom, non-ocular symptom, erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), C-reactive protein (CRP) and temporal artery ultrasound (TAU) findings on the predictive value of a positive temporal artery biopsy (TAB) in patients with clinically suspected giant cell arteritis (GCA).
In a retrospective, interventional study, data from 68 patients with clinically suspected GCA who underwent TAB between 2015 and 2017 were analysed. Analysis included five parameters: ocular symptom, non-ocular symptom, ESR, CRP level and TAU findings. Using a contingency table, each parameter was separately analysed for the predictive value of a positive TAB, and a discriminant analysis was applied to check for the predictive value of a positive TAB under consideration of all five parameters and of the three strongest predictive parameters.
A positive TAB was significantly associated with a positive TAU in 15 of 15 patients (p < 0.001), an increased ESR in 37 of 53 patients (p < 0.001), an increased CRP level in 35 of 56 patients (p = 0.004) and non-ocular symptoms in 27 of 40 patients (p = 0.01). A positive TAB was not significantly associated with the presence of ocular symptoms (25 of 46 patients, p = 0.988). Using a discriminant analysis, the combined parameters TAU, ESR and CRP were able to predict a positive TAB in 97.3% of all patients. The positive predictive value was 78.3%, and the negative predictive value was 95.4%.
Temporal artery biopsy to confirm the diagnosis of GCA may not be mandatory in patients who show an elevated ESR and CRP level and a positive TAU.
KeywordsGiant cell arteritis Temporal artery biopsy Erythrocyte sedimentation rate C-reactive protein Temporal artery ultrasound
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. For this type of study (retrospective study), formal consent was not required.
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