A 77-year-old man visited the hospital with a chronic cough persisting for 2.5 months accompanied with night sweats, weight loss (3.5 kg) and elevated C-reactive protein level. Chest CT of the lung field was normal, but aortic wall thickening accompanied by a contrast effect was noted. Positron emission tomography–CT (PET–CT) showed that the aorta and subclavian artery were inflamed, suggesting large-vessel vasculitis. Ultrasonography showed thickening of the superficial temporal artery wall (macaroni sign). Biopsy revealed lymphocytic infiltration in the tunica media and foreign-body giant cell reaction with the elastic lamina, resulting in a diagnosis of giant cell arteritis (GCA). The cough was considered a symptom of GCA as it resolved following prednisolone administration. Cough may rarely be an initial GCA symptom. However, for chronic cough accompanied with elevated inflammatory findings but with a normal lung field, imaging studies such as PET–CT are useful for the differential diagnosis.
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Contributors HH wrote the initial draft of the manuscript.TK, TF and HS assisted helpful discussions.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Obtained.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.