The Role of Vascular Imaging to Advance Clinical Care and Research in Large-Vessel Vasculitis

  • Kaitlin A. Quinn
  • Peter C. GraysonEmail author
Vasculitis (L Barra, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Vasculitis


Purpose of the review

The two main forms of large-vessel vasculitis (LVV) are giant cell arteritis (GCA) and Takayasu’s arteritis (TAK). Vascular imaging can characterize disease activity and disease extent in LVV. This review critically analyzes the clinical utility of vascular imaging in LVV and highlights how imaging may be incorporated into the management and study of these conditions.

Recent findings

There are multiple imaging modalities available to assess LVV including ultrasonography, CT angiography (CTA), magnetic resonance angiography (MRA), and 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography (PET). As these techniques are refined, imaging may be increasingly useful to evaluate the cranial arteries and the aorta and its primary branches. In addition, vascular imaging may be useful to monitor disease activity and may have prognostic value to predict future clinical events.


There are strengths and weaknesses associated with vascular imaging that should be considered when evaluating patients with LVV. Vascular imaging will likely play an increasingly important role in the clinical management of patients and the conduct of research in LVV and may ultimately be incorporated as outcome measures in clinical trials in these conditions.


Large-vessel vasculitis Giant cell arteritis Takayasu’s arteritis Positron emission tomography Angiography Ultrasound 



This research was supported through the Intramural Research Program at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

References and Recommended Reading

Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Systemic Autoimmunity BranchNational Institutes of Health, NIAMSBethesdaUSA
  2. 2.Division of RheumatologyGeorgetown UniversityWashingtonUSA

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