Demographic and laboratory data may predict positive temporal artery biopsy

Joanelle Z. Lugo, Jonathan S. Deitch, Andrew Yu, Joon Ho Jang, Radha Patel, Denisa Slova, John Lantis, I. Michael Leitman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background: Temporal artery biopsy is performed in patients suspected of having giant cell arteritis. This study was conducted to evaluate clinical and laboratory criteria correlating with positive biopsy results in an effort to limit the number of negative biopsies performed. Methods: A retrospective review was performed of patients who underwent temporal artery biopsy at two urban medical centers from 2002 to 2009. A multivariate analysis of patient demographics, clinically relevant signs and symptoms, laboratory data, and pathologic outcomes was performed. Results: Temporal artery biopsy histologically confirmed giant cell arteritis in 24% of cases. The mean age of those with disease was 77.8 y and those without were 73.1 y; age was found to be statically significant (P = 0.0227); 76% were female and 24% were male; gender was not significant (P = 0.9594); 42% were Caucasian (39% had a positive temporal artery biopsy), 27% were Hispanic (17% positive), and 31% of the patients were African-American (3% positive); ethnicity was significant (P = 0.0005). The PPV of elevated ESR was 27%; sensitivity was 100%; specificity was 16%. A history of headache or visual disturbance was not predictive of a positive biopsy Conclusion: Fewer negative biopsy results may be achieved by screening patients with normal ESR or lower risk patients with other modalities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)332-335
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • arteritis
  • biopsy
  • giant cell
  • temporal artery
  • vasculitis


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