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Dig Dis Sci. 2009 Feb;54(2):201-7. doi: 10.1007/s10620-008-0337-4. Epub 2008 Jul 2.

Gastrointestinal manifestations of Behçet's disease.

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UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Brunswick, NJ 08903, USA.


Behçet's disease is a rare vasculitis diagnosed by the presence of recurrent oral ulcers and two of the following: genital ulcers, typical eye lesions, typical skin lesions, and positive pathergy test. It is most commonly seen in countries along the ancient silk road from Eastern Asia to the Mediterranean Basin. Young adults between the second and fourth decades of life are mainly affected, with abdominal pain being the most common symptom. The ileocecal region is most commonly affected, with ulcerations that may penetrate or perforate. Rarely, the esophagus and stomach may have ulcerations. Bowel wall thickening is the most common finding on computed tomography (CT) scan. Pathology shows a vasculitis mainly involving the small veins or, alternatively, nonspecific inflammation. Corticosteroids, with or without other immunosuppressive drugs, are used for severe eye disease. Their use in intestinal disease is largely empirical. Surgery may be required for perforation. Behçet's disease runs a chronic, unpredictable course with exacerbations and remissions which decrease in frequency and severity over time. Death is mainly due to major vessel disease and neurological involvement.

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