Improving the quality of care for people with giant cell arteritis

Chetan Mukhtyar, Georgina Ducker, Sarah Fordham, Sonja Mansfield-Smith, Colin Jones

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7 Citations (Scopus)
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Giant cell arteritis (GCA) is a systemic vasculitis with numerous potential complications and societal costs. After the publication of international guidelines, we found a number of deficiencies in the local care pathway of patients suspected to have GCA. These included poor referral and management pathways, and absence of dedicated monitoring and follow-up. In this paper, we describe a 10-year transformation which led to our service being nominated for a national award. A comprehensive consensus pathway saw referral numbers rise from 19 to 135 from 2012 to 2019. A consensus management pathway has meant that patients are assessed within 2 days of referral and glucocorticoids started at point of referral. All patients with suspected GCA are clerked and managed according to this agreed pathway which is available on the hospital intranet. The introduction of diagnostic ultrasonography has meant that the need for biopsies has dropped by >80% reducing the annual cost of diagnostics by >£140, 000. The introduction of a vasculitis specialist nurse has resulted in improving education, contact and speed of access to our service. The improvements in the service resulted in our service becoming a finalist in the Royal College of Physicians Excellence in Patient Care Award in 2020.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E371-E374
Number of pages4
JournalClinical Medicine, Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of London
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Diagnostic ultrasonography
  • Giant cell arteritis
  • Multidisciplinary collaboration
  • Temporal artery biopsy
  • Vasculitis specialist nurse

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