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November 5, 1982

The Use of Doppler Flow Studies in the Diagnosis of Giant Cell Arteritis: Selection of Temporal Artery Biopsy Site Is Facilitated

Author Affiliations

From the Service de Médecine Interne II, Hôpital Saint-Jacques, Nantes, France.

JAMA. 1982;248(17):2158-2159. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330170062031

Sixty patients, for whom a diagnosis of giant cell arteritis (GCA) was clinically suspected, underwent Doppler study as a method of guiding temporal artery biopsy. In group A (23 patients with normal Doppler results), only one had a positive histological lesion. In group B (14 patients with discrete Doppler abnormalities), none had inflammatory lesions. Twelve of the 23 patients in group C (stenosis or thrombosis) had a biopsy result corresponding to GCA. Forty-three percent of the patients in group C had degenerative arterial lesions leading to a decrease in blood flow. There is a small probability, according to this preliminary study, of diagnosing GCA by artery biopsy even when findings from the ultrasonic examination are normal or only slightly irregular. However, a negative Doppler result should in no case exclude a biopsy if the clinical picture is suggestive.

(JAMA 1982;248:2158-2159)