All-cause and cause-specific mortality in patients with giant cell arteritis: a nationwide, population-based cohort study.

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To investigate whether giant cell arteritis (GCA) is associated with increased all-cause and cause-specific mortality.A nationwide, population-based cohort study in Denmark using medical and administrative registries. GCA cases were defined as patients aged ≥50 years from 1996-2018 with a first-time discharge diagnosis of GCA and ≥3 prescriptions for prednisolone within 6 months following diagnosis. Each GCA patient was matched based on age, sex and calendar time to 10 persons without a history of GCA. Index date was the date for the third prednisolone prescription. We used a pseudo-observation approach to calculate all-cause and cause-specific mortality, adjusted risk differences (RDs) and relative risks (RRs).We included 9908 GCA patients and 98204 persons from the general population. The median time for GCA patients to redeem the third prednisolone prescription was 74 days (IQR: 49-106). Among GCA patients, the overall mortality was 6.4% (95% CI: 5.9-6.9) 1 year after index date and 45% (95% CI: 44-47) after 10 years. Compared to the reference cohort, adjusted RDs and RRs of deaths in the GCA cohort were 2.2% (95% CI: 1.7-2.7) and 1.49 (95% CI: 1.36-1.64) after 1 year, and 2.1% (95% CI: 1.0-3.3) and 1.03 (95% CI: 1.00-1.05) 10 years after index date. GCA patients had a higher risk of death due to infectious, endocrine, cardiovascular, and gastrointestinal diseases.GCA is associated with increased all-cause mortality, particularly within the first year following the diagnosis. Cause-specific mortality indicates that mortality in GCA may in part be due to glucocorticoid-related complications.

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Authors: Philip Therkildsen, Berit Dalsgaard Nielsen, Annette de Thurah, Ib Tønder Hansen, Mette Nørgaard, Ellen-Margrethe Hauge