Giant cell arteritis / temporal arteritis – Adult

Emergency and immediate referrals

Referral to Emergency Department:

  • Nil

Immediate Referral (seen within 7 days): 

  • Temporal tenderness, jaw claudication, blurring of vision
  • Burning or craniofacial pain or tenderness or superficial temporal arteries refer for immediate review.

To contact the relevant service, please refer to HealthPathways Acute Rheumatology Assessment (seen within 7 days)

Presenting symptoms
  • New onset of headaches (usually unilateral)
  • Fatigue 
  • Weight loss 
  • Tender scalp or temples 
  • Sudden vision loss, blurred or double vision 
  • Jaw claudication
  • Dizziness 
  • Poor coordination and balance 
  • Persistent sore throat 
  • Dysphagia
  • Fevers and sweats
  • Dry cough 
Mandatory referral information (referral will be returned if this information is not included)


  • Relevant history:
    • Age of onset of symptoms greater than 50 years,
    • Onset and time since onset of headaches, visual disturbance, jaw claudication, scalp tenderness
  • Details of treatments including steroid exposure


  • FBC, LFTs, ESR and CRP
Highly desirable referral information
  • Most recent optometrist or ophthalmologist reports/results if available and where providing it will not delay care
  • Temporal artery biopsy histology 
  • Bone mineral density
  • Other screening previously performed including HepB, HepC, HIV, QuantiFERON Gold (QFG)
  • PET CT, CXR or US 
Indicative triage category
Indicative triage category
Cat 1
Appointment within 30 days
  • Suspected new onset and/or active giant cell arteritis
Cat 2
Appointment within 90 days
  • No defined category 2 criteria
Cat 3
Appointment within 365 days
  • No defined category 3 criteria
Useful Information for referring practitioners

More information