Temporal (granulomatous) arteritis: a histopathological study of 32 cases

Histopathology. 1979 May;3(3):209-21. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2559.1979.tb02998.x.


Thirty-two cases of temporal arteritis were reviewed. All patients were adults with a mean age of 69.6 years, and no sex predominance. The erythrocyte sedimentation rate was raised and there was a good response to steroid therapy in the 29 patients who were adequately documented and followed up. Detailed histopathological study of the temporal artery biopsies showed three main histopathological variants; 12 cases (37.5%) had predominantly intimal proliferative changes, four cases (12.5%) had granulomatous inflammation without giant cells and 16 (50%) had granulomatous inflammation with giant cells. The predominantly intimal change variant, consisting of a cellular proliferation of fibroblasts and myointimal cells with little or no changes in the media represent an active pathological process and not a healed disease as has been previously suggested. The internal elastic lamina showed abnormal features in all three morphological variants. The need to recognize this variant, the temporal relationship between these variants and the need to study multiple sections are discussed. Biopsy of clinically normal temporal arteries in patients suspected of having temporal arteritis is recommended as some of these vessels may show disease. No correlation was observed between the clinical picture and the histopathological findings.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Giant Cell Arteritis / diagnosis
  • Giant Cell Arteritis / drug therapy
  • Giant Cell Arteritis / pathology*
  • Granuloma / pathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Steroids / therapeutic use


  • Steroids