Temporal artery biopsy today

Hi diagnosed probable GCA November- up and down days , back up to 50mg pred this week after jaw pain on chewing .

Biopsy done today no problems - quick. Simple pain relief needed afterwards.

Surgeon passed a little gem on to me " I've never had a positive tab in 20 years" the rheumatologist should do these themselves if they think they're that important!

I'm seeing rheumatologist next week and was hopefully reducing to 30 mg but cannot see that now after having to go up this week.

Is it always like this at the beginning?


4 Replies

  • Makes you wonder if these biopsy's are necessary especially if done whilst on a high dose of Pred. I had one done 16 years ago which was negative, I was on 60 mgs at the time.

  • Yes - the figure I quote is that less than half done come out positive. And THAT is a "gold standard"! I think your surgeon should say that a bit louder to his rheumatologist colleagues. It remains a clinical decision, on the basis of symptoms only - but in the few cases with positives they do have a 100% sure identification and the real value is that you then have a cache of patients you can use for research at some point.

    And yes, I think it can be like this at the beginning. Particularly because too many doctors of all shades are far too desperate to reduce the dose of pred - and it was said some years ago that the primary cause of flares is reducing too far or too fast.

    Some of us bang on on all the forums about reducing SLOWLY, in SMALL steps. That's because while it may sound slow it isn't - it is quicker overall than rushing and having to start all over again because the symptoms returned. A true case of the tortoise and the hare!

  • Hi Pamela60, Just to say I was one of the positive biopsies done in Bristol Eye Hospital after losing sight in one eye. At least it kept me in for 4 days on infusion of 80 mg pred per day which probably saved my other eye or I wouldn't be typing this or driving either. Good luck with the slow reduction program it will be worth it when you reach Club Zero! Regards, raymck

  • I was lucky enough to have a duplex scan which showed my temporal artery as inflamed. I had been on Pred for 5 weeks by then so a positive TAB may have been unlikely. The Consultants take into account he whole picture of how you are presenting and feeling as well relying on a biopsy result. In the beginning I was desperate to reduce my Pred but quickly learnt it wasn't so easy and to tune in to my symptoms. Let us know how you get on.


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