Correlation between infection and the onset of the giant cell (temporal) arteritis syndrome. A trigger mechanism?

Arthritis Rheum. 1995 Mar;38(3):374-80. doi: 10.1002/art.1780380312.


Objective: To assess for a correlation between infection and the onset of the giant cell (temporal) arteritis (GCA) syndrome.

Methods: A matched case-control study design was used. Records of 100 patients with biopsy-proven GCA and 100 patients undergoing corrective surgery for hip fracture who did not have GCA were retrospectively reviewed. Non-GCA patients were sex-matched with GCA patients and were as old or older in age. The review period for GCA patients was up to 4 months before and during the occurrence of symptoms (median 2 months), and for non-GCA patients, it was up to 7 months before hip fracture. The prevalence of infection was compared using matched-pairs odds ratios and their 95% confidence intervals.

Results: Infections were 3 times more likely to occur in GCA patients than in non-GCA patients (P < 0.05).

Conclusion: A correlation between the occurrence of infection and the onset of GCA is strongly suggested. We speculate that infection may act as a trigger mechanism in the pathogenesis of this syndrome.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Autoimmune Diseases / etiology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Female
  • Giant Cell Arteritis / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Infections / complications*
  • Infections / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Periapical Abscess / complications
  • Prevalence
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / complications
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sinusitis / complications
  • Up-Regulation
  • Urinary Tract Infections / complications
  • Virus Diseases / complications
  • Virus Diseases / epidemiology