• Vol. 33 No. 4, 510–514
  • 15 July 2004

Behcet’s Disease: Experience in a Tertiary Rheumatology Centre in Singapore and a Review of the Literature



Introduction: The only reported study on Behcet’s disease (BD) in Singapore found that only 15% of 34 BD patients managed at a tertiary dermatology centre had arthritis and 6% had eye complications with no other systemic manifestations. The aim of our study was to characterise the clinical manifestations and outcome of patients with BD at a tertiary rheumatology centre in Singapore.

Materials and Methods: The International Study Group (ISG) and the O’Duffy (OD) criteria were used. The demographics, manifestations and outcome of our patients with BD were recorded.

Results: Thirty-seven patients were included in our study. Twenty-three (62.2%) satisfied both ISG and OD criteria. Fourteen (37.8%) did not fulfil the ISG criteria but fulfilled the OD criteria and of these 6 were the incomplete form and 8 the complete form. The male to female ratio was 1:1.1. The mean age of onset of disease was 32.7 years (range, 15 to 58 years). The commonest presentations were recurrent oral ulcers (37, 100%), genital ulcers (24, 64.9%), joint (21, 56.8%) and cutaneous manifestations (18, 48.6%). The most common systemic manifestations were arthritis (16, 43.2%), gastrointestinal manifestations (15, 40.5%) and uveitis (13, 35.1%). There were 2 cases of Neuro Behcet’s and 2 cases of venous thrombosis. Visual impairment from uveitis was the commonest cause of morbidity. There were no deaths in our series of BD.

Conclusion: BD is a relatively rare rheumatologic condition in Singapore. However, because its systemic complications are not rare, early diagnosis and prompt treatment are essential.

The only published study on Behcet’s disease in Singapore by Tan E et al (34 patients at the National Skin Centre) found that only 15% had arthritis and 6% had eye complications with no other systemic manifestations. These findings are different from epidemiological studies from other countries published in the literature, probably because the patients were mainly referred for cutaneous rather than systemic manifestations as a result of referral bias.

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