Horton's disease: past and present

Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2005 Aug;9(4):259-63. doi: 10.1007/s11916-005-0033-4.


Although the disease known as temporal arteritis, giant cell arteritis, and Horton's disease has been known since at least the 10th century, Hutchinson (1890) and Horton (1932) characterized the condition in the more recent medical literature. The diagnosis of this potentially serious illness can be surprisingly elusive, and treatment is fraught with some frustrating pitfalls. For the most part, careful evaluation of patients (usually elderly) with the typical presentation of head pain and constitutional signs yields prompt diagnosis. Treatment with corticosteroids, the standard since the mid-1950s, is usually very successful in relieving pain and tenderness and in preventing visual and other sequelae. This article discusses the evolution of medical understanding of the disease, pathophysiology, diagnosis, and modern treatment options.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use*
  • Aged
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Giant Cell Arteritis / diagnosis*
  • Giant Cell Arteritis / drug therapy*
  • Giant Cell Arteritis / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Male


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones