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Posted: 24 January 2020


Giant Cell Arteritis affects the blood supply to the scalp, jaw muscles or the back of the eye.  If left untreated, it can lead to blindness or stroke.  The UPDATED GUIDELINES on its treatment ensures clinicians have the latest information about diagnosis and treatment, bringing the latest peer-reviewed evidence up-to-date and supporting clinicians in providing the best treatment for people with this disease.

The British Society for Rheumatology (BSR) Guidelines team worked with over 35 national and international experts in the field, including rheumatologists, GPs, ophthamologists and patients, to update the Guidelines.  This involved a rigorous process, using a framework of evidence appraisal called GRADE, coupled with our BSR Guidelines Protocol, which is endorsed by NICE.

Guideline co-lead Dr. Sarah Mackie, Associate Clinical Professor in Vascular Rheumatology at the University of Leeds, and Patron of PMRGCAuk, co-led led the development of the Guidelines.

She explains: "The way patients with suspected GCA have been assessed and treated has been variable across the UK.  Giant Cell Arteritis is very time critical; a delay in starting high-dose steroid treatment can cause blindness, but this same treatment can also cause serious side-effects, so this is not a matter to be taken lightly.

"We recommend that all patients are referred to a specialist who can see them promptly - on the same working day if possible and in all cases within three working days."

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