Background: The natural course of Behçet's disease is not fully known.
Objective: The aim of the present study was to determine the occurrence of the symptoms retrospectively in chronologic order in patients with Behçet's disease, diagnosed according to the criteria of the International Study Group for Behçet's Disease.
Methods: A total of 60 consecutive patients (29 male and 31 female; aged 35.87 +/- 9.84 years) were involved in the study. The symptoms of the disease were retrospectively recorded in the time order of the manifestations per patient.
Results: Oral ulcer was the most commonly observed onset manifestation (51 of 60 patients: 85%), followed by genital ulcer (13 of 60 patients: 21.7%) and articular symptoms (10 of 60 patients: 16.7%). The duration between the oral ulcer and the fulfillment of diagnostic criteria was calculated to be 3.77 +/- 4.43 years. The same duration was 2.50 +/- 4.74 and 2.11 +/- 3.44 years for genital ulcer and articular symptoms, respectively. The duration between the time point of fulfillment of diagnostic criteria and the diagnosis (2.83 +/- 2.3 years) was found to be longer in female patients (3.2 +/- 2.5 years). The duration was also longer in patients having only mucocutaneous lesions (3.18 +/- 2.5 years) than in patients having serious organ involvement such as eye disease (1.63 +/- 0.7 years; p < 0.05).
Conclusion: Our study indicates that oral ulcer is the onset manifestation in the majority of the patients and the disease is often diagnosed with a delay of several years after the appearance of the onset sign.
Copyright 2003 S. Karger AG, Basel