Temporal Artery Vascular Diseases

J Clin Med. 2022 Jan 5;11(1):275. doi: 10.3390/jcm11010275.


In the presence of temporal arteritis, clinicians often refer to the diagnosis of giant cell arteritis (GCA). However, differential diagnoses should also be evoked because other types of vascular diseases, vasculitis or not, may affect the temporal artery. Among vasculitis, Anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA)-associated vasculitis is probably the most common, and typically affects the peri-adventitial small vessel of the temporal artery and sometimes mimics giant cell arteritis, however, other symptoms are frequently associated and more specific of ANCA-associated vasculitis prompt a search for ANCA. The Immunoglobulin G4-related disease (IgG4-RD) can cause temporal arteritis as well. Some infections can also affect the temporal artery, primarily an infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV), which has an arterial tropism that may play a role in triggering giant cell arteritis. Drugs, mainly checkpoint inhibitors that are used to treat cancer, can also trigger giant cell arteritis. Furthermore, the temporal artery can be affected by diseases other than vasculitis such as atherosclerosis, calcyphilaxis, aneurysm, or arteriovenous fistula. In this review, these different diseases affecting the temporal artery are described.

Keywords: ANCA-associated vasculitis; giant cell arteritis; temporal arteritis; varicella-zoster virus.

Publication types

  • Review