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Behçet’s syndrome 

Behçet’s syndrome
Chapter:
Behçet’s syndrome
Source:
Oxford Textbook of Rheumatology (4 ed.)
Author(s):

Sebahattin Yurdakul

, Emire Seyahi

, and Hasan Yazici

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199642489.003.0135_update_003
Previous versions of this chapter are available. To view earlier versions of this chapter view the full site here.

Behçet’s syndrome is a systemic inflammatory panvasculitis (affecting all sizes of vessels) of unknown aetiology. It is in vogue to include it among the systemic autoinflammatory conditions. Behçet’s syndrome is more frequent along the ancient ’Silk Route’ across Asia than it is in Western countries. The usual onset is the second or third decade, equally affecting either gender. However, young patients and male patients have more severe disease. Almost all patients have recurrent oral ulceration. Scar-forming genital ulcers, a variety of skin lesions including acneiform, erythema nodosum-like lesions, arthritis, potentially blinding panuveitis, thrombophlebitis, gastrointestinal disease, central nervous system (CNS) involvement, and life-threatening bleeding pulmonary artery aneurysms are seen. The pathergy phenomenon is a heightened tissue inflammatory response. The strongest genetic association is with HLA B51. There are immunological aberrations but not prominent enough to call it an autoimmune disease. Similarly, Behçet’s syndrome does not fit easily into the broad concept of autoinflammatory diseases. The histopathology is also non-specific and the diagnosis is mainly clinical. Differentiation from Crohn’s disease is very difficult. In more than one-half of the patients the disease burns out in time, thus only symptomatic therapy is indicated in some patients. However, eye involvement, pulmonary vascular disease, thrombophilic complications, CNS involvement, and gastrointestinal disease need prompt recognition and treatment. Brief courses of glucocorticosteroids along with immunosuppressives including the newer biologicals, interferon, and colchicine are commonly used. However, controlled clinical trials are not available for some of these medications especially when thrombophilia, CNS, and gastrointestinal disease are present.

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