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Extract from Hansard Lord Wills July 2012

Health: Giant Cell Arteritis
Questions
Asked by Lord Wills
To ask Her Majesty's Government what recent estimate they have made of the costs to the National Health Service of failures to diagnose giant cell arteritis sufficiently early to prevent loss of vision for those afflicted.[HL1412]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what recent estimate they have made of the number of people afflicted by giant cell arteritis who have lost vision as a result of a failure to diagnose the illness sufficiently early.[HL1413]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Estimates of the incidence of giant cell arteritis in the literature vary, but on the highest estimate (that of Smeeth et al, 2006) the annual incidence in England could be around 11,000. In a recently published study, 19 of 65 patients (29%) newly diagnosed with giant cell arteritis had suffered irreversible loss of vision. Combining these estimates, up to 3,200 people annually may be suffering partial or total loss of vision as a result of giant cell arteritis. Many of these cases may have been preventable.


 

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