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September 1970

The Rheumatologists Consider Giant Cell Arteritis

Arch Ophthalmol. 1970;84(3):259. doi:10.1001/archopht.1970.00990040261001

OVERT temporal arteritis, a documented cause of blindness since 1932,1 has also been recognized to exist in an occult form since 1962.2 Since then, the generalized nature of the disease has been gradually documented and the term "giant cell arteritis" found more appropriate. Some studies have suggested more than a 10% mortality associated with the disease.3 Cortisone-like drugs were found to relieve dramatically the acute symptoms of the disease and to prevent blindness in many patients.4 The efficiency of cortisone in the disease has caused speculation that the lives of some patients could be prolonged if they were carefully treated.

In 1957, Barber5 found "polymyalgia rheumatica" a useful term to describe a syndrome previously known as "senile rheumatic gout," "humeroscapular periarthrosis," "periextra-articular rheumatism," and "anarthritic rheumatoid disease." Biopsies subsequently showed that some polymyalgia rheumatica patients actually had giant cell arteritis.6 Still later some of

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