Temporal arteritis

Alternative Names

Arteritis – temporal; Cranial arteritis; Giant cell arteritis

Definition of Temporal arteritis

Temporal arteritis is inflammation and damage to blood vessels that supply the head area, particularly the large or medium arteries that branch from the neck.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Temporal, giant cell, and cranial arteritis occur when one or more arteries become inflammed and die.

Signs and tests

The doctor will examine your head. Touching the head may show that the scalp is sensitive and has a tender, thick artery on one side. The affected artery may have a weak pulse or no pulse.

Treatment

The goal of treatment is to reduce tissue damage that may occur because of lack of blood flow.

Expectations (prognosis)

Most people make a full recovery, but long-term treatment (for 1 to 2 years or longer) may be needed. The condition may return at a later date.

Review

Joseph P. Hart, M.D., Assistant Professor of Surgery, Medical University of Southern Carolina, Charleston, SC. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 1/16/2009

Carotid artery anatomy

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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