In patients dying during the active phase of giant cell arteritis there was a very high incidence of severe involvement of the superficial temporal, vertebral, ophthalmic, and posterior ciliary arteries. The internal carotid, external carotid, and central retinal arteries were less commonly severely involved. The intracranial arteries were never involved in the cases studied, though mild involvement is reported infrequently in the literature. The pattern of arterial involvement was reflected by the high incidence of monocular blindness, occipital blindness, and brain stem strokes (including the lateral medullary syndrome) in severely affected patients dying of the disease. There appeared to be a close correlation between the susceptibility to giant cell arteritis and the amount of elastic tissue in the media and adventitia of the individual arteries of the head and neck.
Iain M. S. Wilkinson, Ralph W.R. Russell. Arteries of the Head and Neck in Giant Cell ArteritisA Pathological Study to Show the Pattern of Arterial Involvement. Arch Neurol. 1972;27(5):378–391. doi:10.1001/archneur.1972.00490170010003