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Ophthalmic artery microembolism in giant cell arteritis.

A 70-year-old man presented with a history of headache and sudden loss of vision of the left eye. Funduscopic examination showed sector retinal edema and hemorrhage as well as optic disc swelling consistent with anterior ischemic optic neuropathy. The Westergren sedimentation rate was 66 mm/h. Temporal artery biopsy was consistent with giant cell arteritis. Routine transcranial Doppler testing performed on a Pioneer 2020 instrument (Nicolet Vascular, Inc., Golden, CO) equipped with special software for microembolus detection showed a microembolic signal in the left ophthalmic artery. During a subsequent monitoring study, microembolic signals were detected in the anterior and middle cerebral arteries, bilaterally. Microembolism can occur in giant cell arteritis. Ophthalmic artery microembolism can be detected in vivo by transcranial Doppler ultrasonography. This new imaging capability can potentially be useful when evaluating patients with vascular disorders of the eye.

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