Giant cell arteritis: A serious disease characterized by inflammation of the walls of the blood vessels (vasculitis). The vessels affected by the inflammation are the arteries (hence the name "arteritis"). The age of affected patients is usually over 50 years of age. Giant cell arteritis can lead to blindness and/or stroke. It is detected by a biopsy of an artery. Giant cell arteritis is treated with high dose cortisone-related medications. Also called temporal arteritis or cranial arteritis.