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Giant Cell Arteritis

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1990 Criteria for the Classification of Giant Cell (Temporal) Arteritis - Excerpt

1. Age at disease onset >=50 years

Development of symptoms or findings beginning at age 50 or older

2. New headache

New onset of or new type of localized pain in the head

3. Temporal artery abnormality

Temporal artery tenderness to palpation or decreased pulsation, unrelatd to arteriosclerosis of cervical arteries

4. Elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate

Erythrocyte sedimentation rate >=50 mm/hour by the Westergren method

5. Abnormal artery biopsy

Biopsy specimen with artery showing vasculitis characterized by a predominance of mononuclear cell infiltration or granulomatous inflammation, usually with multinucleated giant cells


* For purposes of classification, a patient shall be said to have giant cell (temporal) arteritis if at least 3 of these 5 criteria are present. The presence of any 3 or more criteria yields a sensitivity of 93.5% and a specificity of 91.2%

Hunder GG, Bloch DA, Michel BA, Stevens MB, Arend WP, Calabrese LH, et al. The American College of Rheumatology 1990 criteria for the classification of giant cell arteritis. Arthritis Rheum 1990;33:1122---8.