Journal of internal medicine vol:227 issue:4 pages:237-40
To determine the frequency of the so-called silent or occult presentation of temporal arteritis (presentation with mere constitutional symptoms) and the resulting delay in diagnosis in this particular group, the medical records of all patients (n = 82) with temporal arteritis or polymyalgia rheumatica, presenting between 1982 and 1988 at the Department of General Internal Medicine of the University Hospital, were retrospectively analysed. Only biopsy-proven cases (n = 34) were studied further. Of the 34 patients with temporal arteritis, 13 (38%) presented with the silent or occult form. In this group the mean delay in diagnosis was 21.5 d (range 2-105) in contrast to a delay of 8.5 d (range 1-40) in the other group (P less than 0.05). Increased awareness of this presentation should lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment of this potentially life-threatening disease, resulting in a shorter hospital stay and fewer technical investigations, with a considerable financial saving.