Clinical features of giant cell arteritis (GCA): An observational study using linked electronic primary and secondary care medical records

Date of Approval
Application Number
Technical Summary

Giant cell arteritis (GCA) is the most common form of large/medium vessel vasculitis, typically affecting people over the age of 50 years. If untreated, it can lead to permanent visual loss. Diagnosing GCA is often difficult due to a wide range of non-specific presenting symptoms which can lead to delays in diagnosis and appropriate treatment. The overall aim of this study is to estimate the occurrence of GCA, and to identify the most common groups of clinical features presented prior to diagnosis.
Our first objective is to estimate the burden of GCA in the UK population. The annual incidence and prevalence of GCA will be assessed between 1990 and 2017. Trends over time will be modelled using joinpoint regression. Our second objective is to examine the clinical features that patients present with in primary care prior to GCA diagnosis. We will perform a matched case-control study that will identify commonly reported clinical features (symptoms & comorbidities) prior to a GCA diagnosis. Using latent class analysis we will determine common patterns of clinical features presented to primary care prior to GCA diagnosis.

Health Outcomes to be Measured

GCA diagnosis,
Clinical features prior to a GCA diagnosis


James Prior - Chief Investigator - Keele University
Lauren Barnett - Corresponding Applicant - Keele University
Alyshah Abdul Sultan - Collaborator - Astra Zeneca Ltd - UK Headquarters
Christian Mallen - Collaborator - Keele University
Kelvin Jordan - Collaborator - Keele University
Toby Helliwell - Collaborator - Keele University


HES Admitted Patient Care;Patient Level Index of Multiple Deprivation