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December 1986

Palpation of the Superficial Temporal Artery in Normal Persons

Author Affiliations

Pawtucket, RI

Arch Ophthalmol. 1986;104(12):1756. doi:10.1001/archopht.1986.01050240030013

To the Editor.  —The only common difficulty in securing an adequate temporal artery biopsy specimen is the localization of the artery. It has been my experience that patients who are suspected of having temporal arteritis often have nonpalpable superficial temporal arteries. This causes a reluctance to perform a biopsy, especially in cases with borderline indications. Large series indicate that approximately 50% of the patients with temporal arteritis have a pulseless temporal artery.1 Bienfang2 has described a technique for locating a nonpalpable superficial temporal artery. His description underscores the common occurence of the nonpalpable artery in patients suspected of having the disease. The question arises as to the incidence of nonpalpable superficial temporal arteries in the "normal" patient population at risk for temporal arteritis.

Patients and Methods.  —I examined the frontal branches of the superficial temporal arteries of 100 patients 65 years of age or older. All were routine

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