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Temporal (giant cell) arteritis is a systemic disease, involving various medium-sized and larger arteries, that occurs mostly in elderly patients. Blindness due to ischemic optic neuropathy is probably the most common and most feared sinister manifestation of the disease, but stroke is the leading cause of death in patients with temporal arteritis. Noninvasive angiography using computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may reveal sites of vascular stenoses. A typical finding is smoothly tapered stenotic lesions different from the abrupt, irregular stenoses of atherosclerotic disease. These modalities may be helpful in assessing the extent of disease or potentially to aid diagnosis especially in biopsy negative cases. Fludeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography (FD-PET) scanning may reveal uptake in the larger thoracic vessels including aorta, subclavian, and carotid arteries. The mainstay of treatment is corticosteroids, although there is much debate about the optimal dose and use of steroid sparing immunosuppressives.
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