Maxillary artery involvement in giant cell arteritis demonstrated by ultrasonography

Michael Chen-Xu, Fiona L. Coath, Georgina Ducker, Sarah Fordham, Chetan B. Mukhtyar

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We describe two cases of giant cell arteritis where involvement of the superficial temporal artery and maxillary artery were demonstrated using colour doppler ultrasonography. Maxillary artery involvement is responsible for the symptoms of jaw claudication and toothache, and even headaches might be due to the involvement of the middle meningeal artery which is a branch of the maxillary artery. The maxillary artery has been difficult to visualise until now. There are international consensus definitions of ultrasonographic abnormalities seen in the superficial temporal artery affected by giant cell arteritis. We have used those definitions to demonstrate hypoechoic changes in the maxillary artery affected by giant cell arteritis. The maxillary artery can be visualised in the infratemporal fossa from an echo window between the condylar and coronoid processes of the mandible. This is the first proof of concept evidence that maxillary arteries can be visualised using bedside ultrasonography in giant cell arteritis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)366-368
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh
Issue number4
Early online date1 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • giant cell arteritis
  • maxillary artery
  • superficial temporal artery
  • ultrasonography

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