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Czihal, M.; Schröttle, A.; Baustel, K.; Lottspeich, C.; Dechant, C.; Treitl, K.-M.; Treitl, M.; Schulze-Koops, H.; Hoffmann, U. (2017): B-mode sonography wall thickness assessment of the temporal and axillary arteries for the diagnosis of giant cell arteritis: a cohort study. In: Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology, Vol. 35, No. 1: S128-S133
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Abstract

Objective. We aimed to determine the diagnostic accuracy of B-mode compression sonography of the temporal arteries (tempCS) and B-mode sonographic measurement of the axillary artery intima media thickness (axIMT) for the diagnosis of giant cell arteritis (GCA). Methods. After having established measurement of tempCS and axIMT in our routine diagnostic workup, 92 consecutive patients with a suspected diagnosis of GCA were investigated. Clinical characteristics were recorded and wall thickening of the temporal arteries (tempCS) and axillary arteries (axIMT) was measured (mm). Using the final clinical diagnosis as the reference standard, receiver operator characteristics (ROC) analysis was performed. In a subgroup of 26 patients interob-server agreement was assessed using Spearman's rank correlation. Results. Cranial GCA, extracranial GCA, and combined cranial/extracranial GCA were diagnosed in 18, 7, and 9 individuals, respectively. For the diagnosis of cranial GCA, tempCS had an excellent area under the curve (AUC) of 0.95, with a cut-off of >= 0.7 mm offering a sensitivity and specificity of 85% and 95%. The AUC of axIMT for the diagnosis of extracranial GCA was 0.91 (cutoff >= 1.2 mm: sensitivity and specificity 81.3 and 96.1%). Applying a combined tempCSIaxIMT cut-off of >= 0.7mm/1.2 mm, we calculated an overall sensitivity and specificity for the final clinical diagnosis of cranial and/or extracranial GCA of 85.3% and 91.4%. Interobserver agreement was strong for both parameters assessed (Spearman's rho 0'.72 and 0.77, respectively). Conclusion. The combination of tempCSIaxIMT allows objective sonographic assessment in suspected GCA with promising diagnostic accuracy.