Refractory Giant Cell Arteritis Complicated by Vision Loss From Optic Atrophy and Maculopathy Associated With Pachymeningitis

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Abstract

Background:

We describe a 75-year-old woman who experienced vision loss in her left eye due to biopsy-proven giant cell arteritis (GCA). She subsequently developed pachymeningitis causing refractory headaches and bilateral optic neuropathy and maculopathy.

Methods:

Case report with literature review.

Results:

Eighteen months after the initial diagnosis of GCA, imaging studies in our patient demonstrated pachymeningeal enhancement, and meningeal biopsy confirmed lymphoplasmacytic tissue infiltrates with low frequencies of IgG4+ plasma cells. Laboratory investigation revealed the presence of 3 antiretinal antibodies and antimyeloperoxidase antibodies, consistent with autoimmune retinopathy. Treatment with B-cell–depleting anti-CD20 antibodies suppressed meningeal inflammation and prevented further vision loss.

Conclusions:

This case illustrates that bilateral vision loss and chronic headaches in patients with GCA may result from retina-directed autoimmunity and pachymeningitis.

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