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Giant cell arteritis

Other Names for this Disease
  • Arteritis cranialis
  • Arteritis temporalis
  • Cranial arteritis
  • GCA
  • Horton's arteritis
More Names
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Giant cell arteritis, also known as “temporal arteritis” or “Horton's disease,” is a form of vasculitis affecting medium and large sized blood vessels, especially those of the aorta and arteries going from the aorta to the arms, legs and the head. Giant cell arteritis most frequently affects the arteries in the head, leading to narrowing and sometimes to complete blockage of the blood vessel. This results in the surrounding tissues being deprived of an adequate blood supply. When giant cell arteritis involves the arteries that supply blood to the eyes, blindness in one or both eyes may develop suddenly. Along with visual changes, the most common symptoms in giant cell arteritis include headaches, pain in the jaw or tongue muscles when eating or talking, tenderness of the scalp, fevers, and arthritis, particularly pain and stiffness of the shoulders and hips. This pain and stiffness of the shoulders and hips is called polymyalgia rheumatica. Polymyalgia rheumatica can occur without giant cell arteritis.
Last updated: 1/3/2012


  1. Information For Patients: Giant Cell Arteritis. Vasculitis Clinical Research Consortium. Accessed 9/19/2011.
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