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OBJECTIVE: To assess the diagnostic value for GCA in adding the axillary arteries (AX) to the temporal artery (TA) ultrasound, particularly in patients with a cranial phenotype of the disease; and to investigate the utility of facial (FA), occipital (OC), subclavian (SC), and common carotid (CC) ultrasound in patients with suspected GCA. METHODS: Patients with new-onset GCA and a positive ultrasound of the TA, AX, FA, OC, SC or CC, followed at the rheumatology departments of two academic centres, were retrospectively included. RESULTS: 230 patients were assessed. TA halo sign was identified in 206/230 (89.6%) cases, FA in 40/82 (48.8%), OC in 17/69 (24.6%), AX in 56/230 (24.3%), SC in 31/57 (54.4%), and CC in 14/68 (20.6%). Negative TA ultrasound was found in 24/230 (10.4%) patients: 22 had AX involvement, 1 exclusive OC involvement and 1 exclusive SC involvement. Adding AX evaluation to the TA ultrasound increased the diagnostic yield for GCA in 9.6%, whereas adding OC or SCs to the TA and AX ultrasound increased it in 1.4% and 1.8%, respectively. No value was found in adding the FA or CCs. Notably, 13 patients with cranial symptoms and 4 with exclusively cranial symptoms showed negative TA ultrasound but positive AX ultrasound. CONCLUSION: Adding the evaluation of AXs to the TA ultrasound increased the number of patients diagnosed with GCA, even in cases of predominantly cranial symptoms. In the subset of patients where these arteries were assessed, no substantial benefit was found in adding the FA, OC, SC or CC arteries to the TA and AX ultrasonographic assessment.

Original publication




Journal article


Rheumatology (oxford)

Publication Date



axillary, carotid, diagnosis, facial, giant cell arteritis, occipital, subclavian, ultrasound