What monitoring is required after successful initial management 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

Because giant cell arteritis (GCA) is a potentially blinding and lethal disease, regular follow-up care after a successful initial management of the acute process is considered a standard of care. Routine follow-up should include asking about symptoms of upper extremity claudication or ischemia, listening for bruits, and taking blood pressure in both arms. Ongoing monitoring of symptoms and the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) is mandatory.

The ESR often normalizes within days of instituting steroid therapy. With tapering of steroid doses, ischemic complications may occur at any time but tend to occur a median of 1 month after beginning therapy.


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