Drafts of new classification criteria presented for GCA, Takayasu’s arteritis



– Drafts of new classification criteria for giant cell arteritis and Takayasu’s arteritis developed by the American College of Rheumatology and the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) reflect the increasingly important role of advanced vascular imaging in the diagnosis and management of large-vessel vasculitis, according to Peter A. Merkel, MD.

The drafts, which are the result of a multiyear collaboration between the ACR and EULAR, were presented at the annual meeting of the ACR and will be submitted to the ACR/EULAR committee overseeing the work for comprehensive review and possible revisions. Once endorsed, the new criteria will replace the “extremely important,” but outdated, existing classification criteria, which were published in 1990.

“What we’ve done is, rather than purely revise the 1990 [criteria], we’ve started again from scratch ... with a great number of cases from a wide variety of centers throughout the world. This was a very large international effort ... really a great community effort in the field of rheumatology,” Dr. Merkel, professor and chief of the division of rheumatology at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and one of the chief investigators for the project, said in a video interview.

The new criteria will allow for better classification of patients with giant cell arteritis versus Takayasu’s arteritis versus another form of vasculitis, he said, noting that advances in imaging that allow for “more enriched data with which to make decisions” play a large role.

However, the new criteria are not meant to be used for diagnosis, but to “sort out among the different types of vasculitis,” he said.

“It provides awareness and it provides a tool, especially for research investigation, but that seeps out into the broader community,” he added.

SOURCE: Merkel PA et al. ACR Annual Meeting, Presentation 5T116.

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