Most earlier studies of giant cell arteritis (GCA) evaluated populations that were predominantly white,1 and consequently epidemiologic data of other races are relatively deficient.1-3 In this issue of JAMA Ophthalmology, Gruener and colleagues4 address the risk of having GCA among black patients, who in 2010 constituted 12.4% of the US population.5 Specifically, they evaluated the incidence of biopsy-supported GCA during a 10-year period at the Wilmer Eye Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, a city with a relatively high percentage of people who identify as black. Among all patients in the study, 92 of 573 (16.1%) 50 years or older had a positive temporal artery biopsy finding; this cohort consisted of 14 black patients, 75 white patients, and 3 patients of other race/ethnicity. To estimate the incidence rate of GCA in white and black patients, the authors adjusted their rates of biopsy results to the US Census population. Their analysis provided a similar incidence estimate of GCA in black and white patients, a finding that contrasts with the received wisdom of many neuro-ophthalmologists and rheumatologists. Several relevant factors should be considered when trying to interpret the meaning of the results from this report.
Yoon MK, Rizzo JF. Giant Cell Arteritis in Black Patients: Do We Know How Rare It Is? JAMA Ophthalmol. 2019;137(10):1180–1181. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2019.2933
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