Brief description of condition
Temporal arteritis (TA), also known as giant cell arteritis (GCA), involves inflammation and damage to medium- and large-sized blood vessels of the head, typically affecting the superficial temporal arteries in patients over 50 years of age. Depending on which vessels are affected, there may be a risk of blindness.
Key signs and symptoms
- Pain (headache, unilateral temporal and/or jaw pain)
- Burning sensation
- Tenderness to touch
- Vessels visible and palpable
- General ill feeling
- Loss of appetite
- Vision difficulties
- Weight loss
- Claudication of the muscles of mastication
If there are signs of visual disturbance, refer the patient for emergency medical care because high dose cortico-steroid prescription without delay is likely to be required. Otherwise, refer the patient for urgent dental care.
Prescribe systemic cortico-steroids without delay (prednisolone, adult dose: 60mg daily). Order blood tests without delay to assess C-reactive protein, plasma viscosity or erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) before the patient starts taking prednisolone.
Monitor symptoms and response to treatment at follow-up appointments to assess to determine further prednisolone dose..
- Medscape. Ophthalmologic Manifestations of Giant Cell Arteritis. June 2011.
Chlorhexidine mouthwash is not suitable for children under 7 years old.