ACR and EULAR Present Drafts of New Classification Criteria for Large-Vessel Vasculitis

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Newswise — CHICAGO – The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) and the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) will present advanced drafts of two updated classification criteria for giant cell arteritis and Takayasu’s arteritis, the two major categories of large-vessel vasculitis, during a session at the 2018 ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting this week at McCormick Place in Chicago.

The session will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 23, at 4:30 PM (CT) in W375b and will include a presentation moderated by Peter A. Merkel, MD, MPH, Chief, Division of Rheumatology, and Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania, and Sebastian H. Unizony, MD, Co-Director, Vasculitis and Glomerulonephritis Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Merkel will also discuss the updated large-vessel vasculitis classification criteria at a press conference that will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 23, at 12:30 PT (CT) in W175a, including the rationale and literature review process for the development of the updated criteria. The previous ACR Classification Criteria were released in 1990.

The new classification criteria are part of a multi-year, international collaboration between the ACR and EULAR. Classification criteria are used to accurately select patients for inclusion in clinical trials and other research studies that contribute to more effective therapies for patients. Advanced imaging techniques, such as angiography, vascular ultrasound and positron emission tomography (PET), are now widely used in clinical practice to diagnose large-vessel vasculitis. The new criteria will reflect the important role of advanced vascular imaging in the diagnosis and management of large-vessel vasculitis.

The Classification Criteria for Large-Vessel Vasculitis should be a highly useful contribution to future investigations in this group of diseases, said Dr. Merkel.

“The prior ACR Classification Criteria were extremely important, but were published over 25 years ago, and both the practice of medicine and the methodology for creating such criteria have changed. The new criteria will take into consideration the advances in diagnostic imaging and other aspects of the evaluation of patients with vasculitis,” he said. “The new data is generated from a large dataset derived from work in multiple countries. The intended result is a set of criteria more useful to current researchers and applicable to patients throughout the world.”

At the ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting in Chicago, panelists will present advanced drafts of the criteria, but these are not yet appropriate for use in research, as they have not yet been endorsed by ACR and EULAR, said Dr. Merkel.

“We will complete a set of manuscripts describing these final, proposed criteria, and submit the paper to the combined ACR/EULAR committee overseeing this work for comprehensive review and possible revisions,” he said. “Once the new criteria for large-vessel vasculitis are endorsed by the ACR and EULAR, clinical researchers who study these diseases worldwide will adopt them for their work.”


About the ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting

The ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting is the premier meeting in rheumatology. With more than 450 sessions and thousands of abstracts, if offers a superior combination of basic science, clinical science, tech-med courses, career enhancement education and interactive discussions on improving patient care. For more information about the meeting, visit, or joint the conversation on Twitter by following the official #ACR18 hashtag.

About the American College of Rheumatology

The American College of Rheumatology is an international medical society representing over 9,400 rheumatologists and rheumatology health professionals with a mission to empower rheumatology professionals to excel in their specialty. In doing so, the ACR offers education, research, advocacy and practice management support to help its members continue their innovative work and provide quality patient care. Rheumatologists are experts in the diagnosis, management and treatment of more than 100 different types of arthritis and rheumatic diseases. For more information, visit