What proportion of patients with polymyalgia rheumatica develop temporal arteritis? Is the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) elevated in both conditions?
—Frank V. Monti, DO, Virginia Beach, Va.
Approximately 10%-15% of patients with polymyalgia rheumatica develop temporal arteritis, usually when low-dose steroids are tapered or discontinued. The ESR is elevated in both conditions during active inflammation, but C-reactive protein tests are often preferred as monitoring tools. The latter rise and fall more quickly and thus facilitate patient care.
—Jack Waxman, MD (111-4)