Quality of life of patients treated for giant cell arteritis:
a case-control study
Received: 10 March 2017 /Accepted: 27 March 2017 /Published online: 12 April 2017
International League of Associations for Rheumatology (ILAR) 2017
Abstract The objective of the study was to assess the quality
of life (QOL) of patients with giant cell arteritis (GCA), fol-
lowing high dose of corticosteroids (CS). Thirty patients with
GCA who had stopped CS or who were under long-term low
dose of CS were included and matched to 60 controls. QOL
was measured by the SF-36 score and a specific questionnaire.
GCA patients had no impairment of QOL compared to con-
trols according to SF-36. Most of them (57%) estimated that
their general condition was improved following treatment.
Patients with GCA complications or CS therapy side effects
had no significant impairment of their QOL compared with
patients without complications or adverse effects. Only the
patients who had gained weight had a lower score on the
domain BVitality^ (VT; p = 0.013). Walking difficulties were
the most frequent complaints. They were associated with im-
paired scores on the physical summary score (p = 0.0340) and
on the BGeneral Health^ (GH; p = 0.005) and BPhysical
Functioning^ (PF, p = 0.0298) domains. Falls among GCA
patients were associated with altered scores on the domain VT
(p = 0.0058) and on the mental summary score if they had
fallen at least three times (p = 0.0460). GCA patients follow-
ing high dose of CS or under long-term low doses of CS have
no significant impairment of their QOL compared to controls.
GCA complications, including visual impairment, do not
seem to have any major impact on QOL.
Giant cell arteritis
Giant cell arteritis (GCA) is a large vessel systemic vasculitis
that affects preferably Caucasian women over 70 years old .
Complications of GCA may be visual, neurological, or car-
diovascular in 15% of cases [2–4]. GCA treatment relies on a
prolonged oral corticosteroid therapy (CS), enabling rapid res-
olution of clinical symptoms and favorable long-term out-
come if initiated early [5–7]. However, high dose CS may
induce metabolic, cardiovascular, skeletal, and infectious side
effects, especially in the seniors [5–8]. Such side effects, along
with GCA complications, may cause significant disability,
impairing patients’ quality of life (QOL). So far, few studies
have assessed QOL in patients with GCA. For Kupersmith
et al., there was no correlation between BActivities of Daily
Vision Scale^ (ADVS) score, SF36 score, and visual impair-
ment 1 year after GCA diagnosis . Hellmann et al. focused
on the importance of several altered domains of QOL in GCA
patients. In their study, the three most important domains of
impaired QOL were vision, motor skills, and personal hygiene
. To date, no study has evaluated QOL of GCA patients
after withdrawal of CS. In our clinical practice, we estimated
Significance and innovations -Giant cell arteritis (GCA) patients after
high dose of corticosteroids (CS) have no significant impairment of their
Quality of life (QOL).
- Weight monitoring, specific geriatric assessment, and falls prevention
measures are recommended in GCA patients.
- CS remain the standard treatment for GCAwith their effectiveness, rapid
action, and absence of QOL impairment.
* Stéphanie Jobard
CHRU de Tours, Service de Médecine Interne, Université
François-Rabelais, 2 boulevard Tonnellé, 37044 Cedex
9 Tours, France
CHRU de Tours, Laboratoire de biochimie et biologie moléculaire,
Inserm U930, Université François-Rabelais, Tours, France
CHRU de Tours, Service de Rhumatologie, Université
François-Rabelais, Tours, France
Clin Rheumatol (2017) 36:2055–2062