Giant Cell Arteritis Rapid Access Clinic

North Bristol NHS Trust has a dedicated Rapid Access Clinic for people suspected to have giant cell arteritis. 

We are happy to discuss any possible cases and would rather see them pretreatment with glucocorticoids.

We will normally see patients within 2 days, organise a temporal artery biopsy and start treatment if appropriate.

Characteristics suggestive of GCA

  • Advancing age over 50 years (typically over 60 years)
  • Raised ESR/PV and/or CRP
  • Jaw/tongue claudication
  • New headache (usually unilateral, temporal)
  • Scalp pain and tenderness
  • Temporal artery tenderness or reduced temporal artery pulse
  • Visual symptoms and signs including diplopia. If eye symptoms contact the Eye Hospital. 

If the PV and CRP are low and the patient is <60 years old, be very suspicious of an alternative diagnosis.

In case of visual symptoms or signs, phone urgently the Ophthalmology on-call at the Bristol Eye Hospital.

Referrals should be made via switchboard on 0117 9505050 and ask for the on call rheumatologist between 9am-5pm Monday - Friday and 9am-12noon Saturday and Sunday.