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Cost-effectiveness analysis of the diagnosis of temporal arteritis.

UNLABELLED: Temporal arteritis (TA) is the most common form of systemic vasculitis. Its diagnosis is based on criteria proposed by the American College of Rheumatology (1990), and its treatment is high-dose corticosteroids. Our objective is to assess the cost of diagnosing TA, and secondarily, cost-effective analysis of different diagnostic strategies (clinical, biopsy, doppler ultrasound) and therapeutic strategies (corticosteroid suspension).

MATERIAL AND METHOD: Observational, retrospective study has been carried out on patients with AT (2012-2021). Demographic data, comorbidities, signs and symptoms suggestive of AT were collected. AT was diagnosed with a score ≥ 3 according to American College of Rheumatoloy criteria (ACR-SCORE). The costs of diagnosis and treatment modification were analysed.

RESULTS: Seventy-five patients have been included, median age 77 (46-87) years. Headache, temporal pain and jaw claudication were significant for the diagnosis of TA. Patients with a halo on Doppler ultrasound and a positive biopsy have significantly elevated ESR and CRP compared to patients who do not. The cost of the AT diagnosis was 414.7 euros/patient. If we use ACR-SCORE ≥ 3-echodoppler it is 167.2 є/patient (savings 59.6%) and ACR-SCORE ≥ 3-biopsy 339.75 є/patient (savings 18%). If the corticosteroid was removed and a biopsy was performed, 21.6 є/patient (94.7% savings), if the corticosteroid was removed and Doppler ultrasound was performed, 10.6 є/patient (97.4% savings).

CONCLUSIONS: Headache, temporary pain and jaw claudication are predictors of AT. Elevated ESR and CRP are predictors of positive biopsy and presence of halo on ultrasound. The uses of ACR-SCORE ≥ 3 with Doppler ultrasound or biopsy, and with corticosteroid suspension, are cost-effective.

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