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J Clin Rheumatol. 2012 Jan;18(1):1-7. doi: 10.1097/RHU.0b013e31823e2e35.

Giant cell arteritis in Mexican patients.

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  • 1Primary Systemic Vasculitides Clinic, Instituto Nacional de Enfermedades Respiratorias, Mexico.



Giant cell arteritis (GCA) is the most common primary systemic vasculitis worldwide, although it seems to be very rare in some areas, such as Latin America.


The objective of the study was to describe the clinical, laboratory, and treatment features in a Mexican Mestizo population with GCA.


Retrospective data chart review (1989-2010).


Twenty-two patients with GCA were identified, 18 women and 4 men. Mean age was 73 (SD, 7.9) years. Diagnosis was made at a mean of 67 (SD, 83.6) days from symptom onset. Most frequent presenting symptoms included headache (90%), constitutional symptoms (86%), and polymyalgia rheumatica (59%). Severe cranial ischemic complications were present in 32%. Amaurosis fugax and blindness were present in 36% and 27%, respectively. High erythrocyte sedimentation rate was present in 89% of patients. Rapid response to prednisone treatment was seen, but in 10 patients, relapse occurred, possibly related to fast tapering. Additional treatment was methotrexate (n = 8), azathioprine (n = 5), and cyclophosphamide (n = 3). Median follow-up was 242 (SD, 214) weeks.


Giant cell arteritis is rarely recognized in Latin America. We report on characteristics of GCA in a population of Mexican Mestizos, as ours is the largest series to be reported from Latin America so far. When compared with other series, age at onset is similar, females are more affected, and although a good response to corticosteroid treatment was seen, a higher frequency of amaurosis fugax and blindness was observed, accounting for an unfavorable functional outcome in 6 (27%) of 22 patients.

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