Objective: To assess current clinical practice patterns for temporal artery biopsy (TAB) among clinicians in establishing the diagnosis of giant cell arteritis. Design: A survey was sent via e-mail using the Survey Monkey website (www.surveymonkey.com; accessed January 24, 2013). The survey initially was sent in July 2010 and continued through October 2010. Participants: The survey was sent via e-mail to the members and affiliates of the American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the North American Neuro-Ophthalmology Society, and the American College of Rheumatology. Methods: Data from the survey were collected via Survey Monkey and data analysis was performed using the Fisher exact test and Wilcoxon rank-sum test. Main Outcome Measures: Response to the survey questions on primary unilateral versus bilateral biopsy, performing second-side biopsy if first side results were negative, and the duration for which biopsy findings are reliable after initiating immunosuppressive therapy. Results: The self-described primary subspecialty of the 1074 respondents was as follows: oculoplastic surgery (n = 127), neuro-ophthalmology (n = 119), rheumatology (n = 799), and other (n = 28). Overall, 66% of respondents advocated initial unilateral TAB, 18% advocated bilateral biopsy in all cases, and 16% recommended either unilateral or bilateral TAB depending on the degree of clinical suspicion. Rheumatologists were 4.5 times more likely to advocate initial bilateral biopsy than neuro-ophthalmologists or oculoplastic surgeons (P<0.0001, Fisher exact test). Most respondents believed that biopsy results were accurate for more than 14 days. These results were not affected by stratification of years in practice by the Kruskal-Wallis rank-sum test. Conclusions: Temporal artery biopsy practices vary greatly among treating physicians. This lack of consensus underscores the need for a systematic assessment of varying practice patterns. Financial Disclosure(s): The author(s) have no proprietary or commercial interest in any materials discussed in this article.
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