What is the role of temporal artery biopsy (TAB) in the diagnosis of giant cell arteritis (GCA) (temporal arteritis)?

Updated: Sep 03, 2020
  • Author: Mythili Seetharaman, MD; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Answer

Superficial temporal artery biopsy (TAB) is the criterion standard for diagnosing temporal arteritis. TAB should be obtained almost without exception in patients in whom GCA is suspected clinically. It is important because the treatment course for GCA is long and often complicated, and many of the nonspecific symptoms of GCA (eg, headache, body aches, fatigue) occur in myriad other disorders. A positive TAB has 100% specificity but relatively low sensitivity (15%-87%) for the diagnosis of GCA.


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