Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Prognosis in giant-cell arteritis.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981; 282 doi: (Published 24 January 1981) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981;282:269
  1. E Graham,
  2. A Holland,
  3. A Avery,
  4. R W Russell


    In a study to assess the natural history of giant-cell arteritis, 90 patients with proved disease were followed up from the time of diagnosis. Early mortality was low and most commonly due to vertebral arteritis, but cerebral infarction did not appear to be a late complication. High maintenance dose steroids and visual loss were associated significantly with a shortened life span (p=0.0003 and p=0.0024). One-third of the patients developed chronic relapsing disease, but serious late complications were not encountered. After the initial attack has been controlled steroid dosage should be reduced to the minimum needed to alleviate symptoms.