Giant Cell Arteritis

Today, we reviewed an excellent case of GCA presenting as acute left sided chest pain with asymmetric BP readings and imaging evidence of aortitis.

Learning points:

  1. There are two large vessel vasculitides that can involve the aorta and its major branches including: Takayasu arteritis and giant cell arteritis.
  2. The two disorders are indistinguishable histopathologically (both show granulomatous inflammation). Distinction between the two is based on age (>50 years for GCA, < 40 years for Takayasu) and distribution of lesions (primarily external carotid artery branches for GCA and aorta and branches for Takayasu).
  3. Treatment for both involves high dose steroids with very gradual taper.