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J Vasc Surg. 2006 Jul;44(1):176-82. Epub 2006 May 6.

Clinical presentation and vascular imaging in giant cell arteritis of the femoropopliteal and tibioperoneal arteries. Analysis of four cases.

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Division of Vascular Medicine, Medizinische Poliklinik, Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich, Germany.


We present four patients with rapidly progressive claudication of the lower limbs due to extracranial giant cell arteritis. Additional findings suggestive of giant cell arteritis were involvement of the axillary or brachial arteries in two patients, symptoms of polymyalgia rheumatica or temporal arteritis in three, and all patients had severely elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate and C-reactive protein level. Lower limb involvement affected preferentially the femoropopliteal, deep femoral, and tibioperoneal arteries. Hypoechogenic, concentric mural thickening suggestive of vasculitis was readily visible in all involved arterial segments by duplex ultrasound imaging, whereas angiography was rather unspecific. Typical changes for large-vessel vasculitis were also detectable by magnetic resonance imaging and fluorine-18-desoxyglucose positron emission tomography. More widespread use of these vascular imaging techniques may show that giant cell arteritis of the lower limbs is more frequent than previously assumed.

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