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Giant Cell Arteritis Occurs at Similar Rate in Blacks, Whites

Biopsy-proven GCA occurs more often in women versus men, but not in white versus black patients

veins inside head

FRIDAY, Aug. 9, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Biopsy-proven giant cell arteritis (BP-GCA) occurs at a similar rate among white and black patients, according to a study published online Aug. 8 in JAMA Ophthalmology.

Anna M. Gruener, B.M.B.S., from the Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute in Baltimore, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study involving all 586 patients (28.5 percent black; 65.2 percent white) who underwent temporal artery biopsy from July 1, 2007, through Sept. 30, 2017, to examine the incidence of BP-GCA.

The researchers found that within the study population, the crude annual incidence rates for BP-GCA were 2.9 (95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.3 to 5.5) and 4.2 (95 percent CI, 3.0 to 5.6) per 100,000 for black and white patients, respectively. For black and white patients, the population-adjusted age- and sex-standardized incidence rates were 3.1 (95 percent CI, 1.0 to 5.) and 3.6 (95 percent CI, 2.5 to 4.7), respectively, per 100,000 patients (difference, 0.5; 95 percent CI, −1.7 to 2.7; P = 0.70). The incidence rate ratio was significantly elevated for women versus men (1.9; 95 percent CI, 1.1 to 3.4; P = 0.03), but was not significant in white versus black patients (1.2; 95 percent CI, 0.6 to 2.4; P = 0.66).

"Whereas previous reports have suggested that GCA is several times more common in white than in black patients, in our study, a difference by race could not be identified," the authors write. "We therefore recommend that the same clinical thresholds for diagnosing and managing GCA be applied to black and white patients."

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