OBJECTIVE: Much remains unknown about the pathogenesis of intestinal Behcet's disease. The majority of these patients are treated with surgical intervention, although it has been recently reported that a number of medical treatments are sometimes effective. Only few studies, however, have ever been undertaken to analyze the long-term prognosis of this disease. In this study, we analyzed the clinical course and the recurrences after initial therapy in patients with intestinal Behcet's disease. METHODS: We investigated 20 patients (surgical group, n = 8; nonsurgical group, n = 12) for whom the clinical courses were known for ≥2 yr (2-23 yr). RESULTS: The surgical group tended to have higher rates of complications such as ocular and ileal lesions than the nonsurgical group. In the surgical group, 75% of the patients recurred (and were readmitted) within 2 yr, and 37.5% of the patients required reoperation for intestinal obstruction because of ulcer at the anastomosis. The percentage of peripheral CD8 + DR + lymphocytes in the recurrent group (10.4% ± 2.5%) was significantly higher than that in the nonrecurrent group (4.3% ± 1.2%, p < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that more extensive disease involving the ileum and ocular lesions are markers of severity and progression to surgical crisis, and that patients requiring surgery suffer more frequent recurrences. Furthermore, an increased percentage of peripheral CD8 + DR + lymphocytes may be a risk factor for disease recurrence. (C) 2000 by Am. Coll. of Gastroenterology.
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