This retrospective study characterises the clinical manifestations and outcome of 34 patients diagnosed with Behcet’s disease seen at the National Skin Centre from 1990 to 1997. The 2 diagnostic criteria used were the International Study Group and the O’Duffy criteria. Seventy-six per cent satisfied both criteria and the remaining 24% satisfied only the incomplete form of the O’Duffy criteria. We found that the male to female ratio was 1:1.8. The mean age of presentation was 33 years (range 21 to 63 years). The majority were Chinese (73%). In our series, patients had prominent mucocutaneous involvement. These findings may be attributed to patient selection to a tertiary dermatology clinic. Oral (100%) and genital (99%) ulceration were the 2 commonest symptoms. The other cutaneous features included papulo-pustular or acneiform eruption (26%), erythema nodosum (14.7%) and positive pathergy test. Five patients (15%) had arthritis, 1 patient had recurrent thrombophlebitis and 2 patients had eye complications. The outcome of our patients was generally good with minimal functional impairment and no mortality detected. Our patients were primarily outpatient referrals and this may explain why systemic complications were rare in our series.
Behcet’s disease, first described by a Turkish dermatologist, Dr Hulusi Behcet, is a multisystem inflammatory disorder of unknown aetiology. The diagnosis of Behcet’s disease is based on clinical criteria because there are no pathognomonic laboratory features.
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