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Ultraschall Med. 2013 Feb;34(1):47-50. doi: 10.1055/s-0032-1312821. Epub 2012 Jun 12.

Temporal artery compression sign--a novel ultrasound finding for the diagnosis of giant cell arteritis.

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Departement of Angiology, University Hospital Basel, Switzerland.



In patients with suspected giant cell arteritis (GCA), a search for the perivascular halo sign, a sophisticated color duplex ultrasound (CDU) finding, at experienced centers reliably identifies inflamed temporal arteries (TA). We tested whether TA compression in patients with GCA, a simple, largely operator-independent maneuver, elicits contrasting echogenicity between the diseased artery wall and the surrounding tissue (compression sign).


80 individuals with suspected GCA were prospectively enrolled in this single-center study. In all study participants, bilateral ultrasound examination of the TA established the presence/absence of the halo and compression sign. A positive compression sign was defined as visibility of the TA upon transducer-imposed compression of the artery. Based on ACR criteria, a team of specialized physicians independently grouped patients as GCA versus non-GCA.


43/80 study participants were grouped as GCA. Both the halo sign and the compression sign were positive in 34/43 patients in the GCA group, and negative in all 37/37 of the non-GCA group, resulting in a sensitivity of 79 % and a specificity of 100 % for both the halo and the compression sign.


In this cohort of individuals with suspected GCA, the halo sign and the compression sign were equal in their diagnostic performance. The simplicity of the compression sign suggests a level of reliability warranting further evaluation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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