When is temporal artery biopsy indicated?

Updated: Sep 04, 2018
  • Author: Andrew A Winkler, MD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Indications for temporal artery biopsy are based on clinical suspicion for disease. The clinical picture of temporal arteritis is complicated by its multitudinous symptoms that mimic other conditions. Studies have found that jaw claudication, pale optic disc edema, fever, and systemic symptoms other than headache should raise suspicion for disease and warrant biopsy. [4] Additionally, if the patient meets the following criteria set forth by the American College of Rheumatology, a biopsy is indicated to confirm the diagnosis: [5, 6, 7]

  • Age of onset older than 50 years

  • New-onset headache or localized head pain

  • Temporal artery tenderness to palpation or reduced pulsation

  • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) greater than 50 mm/h

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