JOURNAL ARTICLE

Validity of the American College of Rheumatology criteria for the diagnosis of giant cell arteritis

Ann P Murchison, Molly E Gilbert, Jurij R Bilyk, Ralph C Eagle, Victoria Pueyo, Robert C Sergott, Peter J Savino
American Journal of Ophthalmology 2012, 154 (4): 722-9
22809782

PURPOSE: To assess the clinical utility of the American College of Rheumatology criteria for the diagnosis of giant cell arteritis (GCA) in patients with positive and negative temporal artery biopsies.

DESIGN: Retrospective case series of all patients undergoing temporal artery biopsy.

METHODS: Retrospective chart review of all patients seen in the Neuro-ophthalmology Service of the Wills Eye Institute undergoing biopsy. One hundred twelve patients were identified between October 2001 and May 2006. Charts were reviewed for American College of Rheumatology criteria, biopsy results, and progression of visual loss after diagnosis.

RESULTS: Nine of 35 patients (25.7%) with positive biopsies would not have been diagnosed with GCA using American College of Rheumatology criteria alone. An additional 16 patients (45.7%) met only 2 criteria and required the positive biopsy to establish the American College of Rheumatology diagnosis of GCA. Eleven of 39 patients (28.2%) with negative biopsies met the criteria and would have been diagnosed with GCA. Diagnostic agreement between the American College of Rheumatology criteria without biopsy results and biopsy results alone was 51.4%; with the addition of biopsy results to the criteria, this increased to 73.0%.

CONCLUSIONS: The current American College of Rheumatology criteria should not be used to diagnose GCA and all patients suspected of having GCA should undergo a temporal artery biopsy.

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