WASHINGTON, D.C.—From diagnosis questions to infection risk to treatment decisions, handling giant cell arteritis (GCA) and polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) comes with a range of challenges for clinicians. Speaking in the ACR Review Course at the 2016 ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting, an expert—Rebecca Manno, MD, MHS, assistant professor of medicine in rheumatology at Johns Hopkins, as well as a fan of boating—likened the challenges to those faced by a boater: You have to remember to call things by the right name (definitions and classification criteria); beware of submerged objects (such as large-vessel vasculitis); be prepared for storms (venous thrombosis, infections and challenges with temporal artery biopsy); and use the right tools (therapies).
Explore this issueJanuary 2017
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GCA, a systemic vasculitis of medium and large arteritis, is the most common form of vasculitis in Europe and North America. It affects women more than men, and older age and genetics are key risk factors. PMR, an inflammatory syndrome that targets the shoulder and hip girdle region, has similar demographics as GCA.
The two diseases are linked: Studies have shown that between 40 and 60% of those with GCA are also affected by PMR, and between 16 and 21% of those with PMR are affected by GCA.