Giant cell arteritis (GCA) is an ophthalmological emergency that can be difficult to diagnose and prompt treatment is vital. We investigated the sequential diagnostic value for patients with suspected GCA using three biochemical measures as they arrive to the clinician: first, platelet count, then C-reactive protein (CRP), and lastly, erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR). This retrospective cross-sectional study of consecutive patients with suspected GCA investigated platelet count, CRP, and ESR using diagnostic test accuracy statistics and odds ratios (ORs) in a sequential fashion. The diagnosis was established by experts at follow-up, considering clinical findings and tests including temporal artery biopsy. A total of 94 patients were included, of which 37 (40%) were diagnosed with GCA. Compared with those without GCA, patients with GCA had a higher platelet count (p < 0.001), CRP (p < 0.001), and ESR (p < 0.001). Platelet count demonstrated a low sensitivity (38%) and high specificity (88%); CRP, a high sensitivity (86%) and low specificity (56%); routine ESR, a high sensitivity (89%) and low specificity (47%); and age-adjusted ESR, a moderate sensitivity (65%) and moderate specificity (65%). Sequential analysis revealed that ESR did not provide additional value in evaluating risk of GCA. Initial biochemical evaluation can be based on platelet count and CRP, without waiting for ESR, which allows faster initial decision-making in GCA.

Original languageEnglish
Article number693
JournalLife (Basel, Switzerland)
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2023


  • biomarkers
  • C-reactive protein
  • diagnostic test accuracy
  • erythrocyte sedimentation rate
  • giant cell arteritis
  • platelet count
  • sequential biomarker analysis


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