PurposeTo determine the differences in the presentation of ophthalmic giant cell arteritis between African-Americans and Caucasians.MethodsThis was a multicenter retrospective case series comparing African-American patients with ophthalmic GCA to a previously published Caucasian cohort. Neuro-ophthalmic centers across the United States were contacted to provide data on African-American patients with biopsy-proven ophthalmic giant cell arteritis. The differences between African-American and Caucasian patients with respect to multiple variables, including age, sex, systemic and ophthalmic signs and symptoms, ocular ischemic lesions, and laboratory results were studied.ResultsThe Caucasian cohort was slightly older (mean=76.1 years) than the African-American cohort (mean=72.6 years, P=0.03), and there was no difference in sex distribution between the two cohorts. Headache, neck pain, and anemia were more frequent, while jaw claudication was less frequent in African-Americans (P<0.01, <0.001, 0.02, and 0.03 respectively). Acute vision loss was the most common presentation of giant cell arteritis in both groups, though it was less common in African-Americans (78 vs 98% of Caucasians, P<0.001). Eye pain was more common in African-Americans (28 vs 8% of Caucasians, P<0.01).ConclusionsThe presenting features of ophthalmic giant cell arteritis in African-Americans and Caucasians are not markedly different, although a few significant differences exist, including higher rates of headache, neck pain, anemia, and eye pain, and lower rates of jaw claudication and acute vision loss in African-Americans. Persons presenting with suspicious signs and symptoms should undergo evaluation for giant cell arteritis regardless of race.
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