Giant cell arteritis-related stroke in a large inception cohort: A comparative study

Published on Aug 1, 2022in Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism
· DOI :10.1016/j.semarthrit.2022.152020
Simon Parreau0 (University of Limoges), Stéphanie Dumonteil0 (University of Limoges)+ 6 AuthorsEric Liozon0 (University of Limoges)
Stroke caused by giant cell arteritis (GCA) is a rare but devastating condition and early recognition is of critical importance. The features of GCA-related stroke were compared with those of GCA without stroke and atherosclerosis-related or embolic stroke with the aim of more readily diagnosing GCA. The study group consisted of 19 patients who experienced GCA-related strokes within an inception cohort (1982-2021) of GCA from the internal medicine department, and the control groups each consisted of 541 GCA patients without a stroke and 40 consecutive patients > 50 years of age with usual first ever stroke from the neurology department of a French university hospital. Clinical, laboratory, and imaging findings associated with GCA related-stroke were determined using logistic regression analyses. Early survival curves were estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method and compared using the log rank test. Amongst 560 patients included in the inception cohort, 19 (3.4%) developed GCA-related stroke. GCA-related stroke patients had more comorbid conditions ( p = 0.03) and aortitis on imaging ( p = 0.02), but less headache ( p < 0.01) and scalp tenderness ( p = 0.01). Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that absence of involvement of the anterior circulation (OR = 0.1 – CI: 0.01-0.5), external carotid ultrasound (ECU) abnormalities (OR = 8.1 – CI: 1.3-73.9), and C-reactive protein (CRP) levels > 3 mg/dL (OR = 15.4 – CI: 1.9-197.1) were independently associated with GCA-related stroke. Early survival of GCA-related stroke patients was significantly decreased compared with control stroke patients ( p = 0.02) and GCA patients without stroke ( p < 0.001). The location of stroke and assessment of ECU results and CRP level could help improve the prognosis of GCA-related stroke by bringing this condition to the clinician's attention more quickly, thus shortening diagnostic delay.
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