Giant cell arteritis associated with inflammatory bowel disease: a case-series and review of the literature

Rheumatol Int. 2021 Feb;41(2):487-492. doi: 10.1007/s00296-020-04727-w. Epub 2020 Oct 23.


To describe the clinical characteristics, management, and outcome of a series of patients with giant cell arteritis (GCA) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Patients with both GCA and IBD evaluated between 1/1/1996 and 12/30/2018 were retrospectively identified. Clinical characteristics, laboratory parameters, radiologic features, histopathology, management and outcomes were abstracted. A systematic literature review identifying patients with IBD and GCA was performed via a Medline and EMBASE search from inception through December 31 2019. Six patients were identified with GCA and IBD (66% male). Five (83%) had ulcerative colitis (UC) and one had Crohn's disease (CD). Diagnosis of IBD preceded GCA in four patients with an average interval of 30 years (range 14-42). Average time to IBD diagnosis in those with prior GCA diagnosis was 1.5 years. During mean follow-up of 4.3 years, GCA relapse was infrequent with only one patient with relapse observed. Systematic literature review identified six additional patients with confirmed coexistence of GCA and IBD. Similar to the current series, male sex was more common and ulcerative colitis was the predominant IBD phenotype. The current study reports findings from the largest single-institution case-series of co-existent GCA and IBD. In contrast to Takayasu arteritis with co-existent IBD, which displays a predilection for female sex and Crohn's disease phenotype, both the current study and review of literature demonstrate a stronger association of GCA with male sex and ulcerative colitis. Further studies addressing a potential pathophysiologic connection between GCA and IBD are suggested.

Keywords: Aortitis; Crohn’s disease; Giant cell arteritis; Inflammatory bowel disease; Temporal arteritis; Ulcerative colitis.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / complications*
  • Crohn Disease / complications*
  • Female
  • Giant Cell Arteritis / complications*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies