Objective: To characterize survivorship among patients with giant cell arteritis in a well-defined, multicenter cohort.
Patients and methods: Follow-up was obtained for 205 (95.8%) of the 214 patients enrolled in the 1990 American College of Rheumatology vasculitis classification study. Standardized mortality ratios (SMR) were calculated comparing mortality data from this group of patients with giant cell arteritis versus the general population.
Results: There were 49 deaths (33 women and 16 men among the 205 patients available for follow-up. Survivorship was virtually identical to that of the general population (SMR = 1.034 +/- 0.121), and was similar for women (SMR = 1.022 +/- 0.149) and men (SMR = 1.078 +/- 0.206) (SMR = 1 indicates that expected and observed survival are identical).
Conclusion: The life expectancy of patients with giant cell arteritis is the same as that of the general population.