Giant Cell Arteritis Risk High in Patients Older Than 80

Temporal arteritis, with cutaneous lesions on the face of a man. Temporal arteritis, also called giant cell arteritis orHorton’s disease, is an inflammatory disease of the tempora l arteries. (c) CID
The investigation shows women and White patients are most likely to be affected.

This article is part of Ophthalmology Advisor’s conference coverage from the 2021 meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, held in New Orleans from November 12 to 15, 2021. The team at Ophthalmology Advisor will be reporting on a variety of the research presented by the ophthalmology experts at the AAO. Check back for more from the AAO 2021 Meeting.


Women who are older than 80 years and who are White are most at risk for developing giant cell arteritis (GCA), according to findings from the first nationwide study to report national GCA incidence and demographics in the US. The research was presented at the American Academy of Ophthalmology 2021 meeting in New Orleans, held November 12-15. 

Researchers reviewed the records of 200,533 patients who received a GCA diagnosis between 2007 and 2016 to help determine incidence, associated complications and in-hospital mortality. Participants had a median age of 80 years. The investigation found a national GCA incidence of 6.42 per 100,000 Americans. The rate of women with GCA (9.49 per 100,000) was more than double that of men (3.43 per 100,000). 

Approximately 10% of GCA patients had associated visual symptoms. They were more common than any systemic complications, including stroke, which was the most common (8.4%), and in-hospital mortality (2.7%).

Demographic data extrapolated from the research demonstrated that the GCA rates are higher in White patients (7.52 per 100,000) than in Black patients (3.75 per 100,000).   

“The study confirms that individuals who are >80 years of age, female and white are at high risk for developing GCA,” according to the report.

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Qiang K, Mir TA. Epidemiology of Giant Cell Arteritis in the United States: A Nationwide Study, 2007-2016. Paper presented at: The American Academy of Ophthalmology 2021 Annual Meeting; November 12-15; New Orleans. Abstract PA049.