Objectives: To evaluate whether the increasing incidence of temporal arteritis in Israel is associated with a changing clinical presentation.
Methods: The demographic data and clinical manifestations of 144 TA patients in this large multicenter study were recorded and compared with data obtained in a previous study.
Results: The patient population was older, with 24% > or = 80 years compared to 6% in the previous study. There was an increase in the number of nonspecific presenting symptoms, and less patients presented with the "classical" manifestations of headache (81% vs. 71%), fever (83% vs. 40%), jaw claudication (21% vs. 13%), and visual symptoms (47% vs. 24%). The median time from presentation to diagnosis was significantly reduced, from 5 to 1.5 months.
Conclusions: There were substantial changes in the clinical presentation of TA patients in Israel during 1980-95 compared to patients diagnosed prior to 1978. It is suggested that these changes may be attributed not only to the influence of aging of the population, but are due largely to increasing physician awareness to the spectrum of manifestations of TA, which leads to earlier diagnosis.