EULAR recommendations for the use of imaging in large vessel vasculitis in clinical practice summary.
Large vessel vasculitis (LVV) is the most common form of primary vasculitis comprising of giant cell arteritis (GCA), Takayasu's arteritis (TAK) and idiopathic aortitis. Early diagnosis and treatment of LVV are paramount to reduce the risk of ischemic complications such as visual loss and strokes, vascular stenosis and occlusion, and aortic aneurysm formation. Use of imaging modalities [ultrasound (US), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT) and [18F]-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (PET)] has steadily increased to enable assessment of cranial and extracranial arteries, as well as the aorta. These imaging modalities are less invasive, more sensitive and readily available compared to temporal artery biopsy (TAB). Modern imaging methods have changed the role of TAB in diagnosing GCA and have replaced diagnostic angiography. Over the last two decades, several studies have evaluated the use of US, MRI, CT and PET in LVV. However, these various imaging tools are not yet uniformly used in routine clinical practice and controversy exists as to which imaging modality best provides meaningful assessments of disease activity and damage in LVV. In January 2018, evidence-based recommendations for the use of imaging modalities in LVV were published. The aim of this review is to summarize the current evidence of imaging in patients with or suspected of having LVV, and to highlight the clinical implications of the EULAR recommendations.
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