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Korean J Intern Med. 2008 Jun;23(2):87-93.

Carotid artery intima-media thickness in Behcet's disease patients without significant cardiovascular involvement.

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The Heart Center of Chonnam National University Hospital, Dong-gu, Gwangju, Korea.



Behcet's disease (BD) is a systemic disorder associated with a characteristic vasculitis that can involve both veins and arteries of all sizes. Endothelial activation or injury is a characteristic feature of BD. Endothelial dysfunction is widely regarded as being the initial lesion in the development of atherosclerosis. The carotid artery intima-media thickness (IMT) is a widely accepted marker of subclinical atherosclerosis, We aimed to determine the carotid IMT in BD patients with using high-resolution B-mode Doppler ultrasonography.


We studied 40 patients (24 males, mean age: 39.1+/-8.5 years) who were diagnosed by the international diagnostic criteria of Behcet's disease and 20 healthy controls (13 males, mean age: 40.2+/-5.1 years), and the two groups were matched by age and gender. No subject in either group had a history of atherosclerosis or its complications. The clinical data, including the age of onset, the duration of disease, a history of medication, the activity score and the laboratory data were analyzed.


The carotid IMT in the BD group was significantly higher than that in the control group (0.71+/-0.22 mm vs. 0.59+/-0.09 mm, respectively, p<0.01). Cardiac and major vessel involvements were not identified in the BD group. However, minor vascular involvements were documented in 2 patients with deep vein thrombosis, in 4 patients with superficial thrombophlebitis and in 2 patients with pseudoaneurysm. The carotid IMT in the patients with posterior uveitis or retinal vasculitis was higher than that of the patients without these findings (0.85+/-0.21 mm vs. 0.64+/-0.10 mm, respectively, p=0.007), but there was no difference of the IMT according to minor vascular involvement.


Despite that there was no significant cardiovascular involvement in the BD patients, the carotid IMT was significantly higher in the BD patients as compared with the healthy controls.

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