Behçet's disease: features of neurological involvement in a dedicated centre in Italy

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Rheumatology Unit, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy. sara.talarico76@gmail.com

CER5965 Submission on line
2012 Vol.30, N°3 ,Suppl.72 - PI 0069, PF 0072
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Rheumatology Article



The aim of the present study was to retrospectively assess the prevalence of neurological involvement and the clinical patterns of presentation in a monocentric cohort of patients with BD, who have been followed in the last twenty years at our centre.
One hundred and seventeen patients were retrospectively studied. The male/female ratio was 1.6:1, with a mean disease duration of 11±5 years. Their mean age was 42±9 years (min:18, max:77), while the mean age at disease onset was 25±4 years (min:10, max:58). The mean ± SD duration of follow-up at our centre was 7±2 (min:1, max:11) years.
Neurological involvement was observed in 38% (44 patients, 36 males and 8 females; mean age at onset 25±4 years). Organic brain involvement, demonstrated by MRI was due to ischaemic pons-mesencephalon lesions in 19 patients and to meningoencephalitis with brainstem involvement in 16. Peripheral nervous system involvement was confirmed by electroneuromyographic study in 4 patients, and consisted of peripheral neuropathy prominent in the lower extremities in all cases; we have also observed only 2 cases of endocranial hypertension and 3 BD patients suffering from pulsatile, severe headache, without abnormal neurological examination, responding only to medium-high doses of steroids. Excluding peripheral neuropathy and isolated headache, the onset of CNS involvement (total prevalence: 32% of the cohort) was observed in 2 patients within the first year from the onset of BD, in 4 cases between the first and the third year, in 24 between the third and the fifth year, 7 between the fifth and the tenth year; none presented a CNS involvement after the first 10 years of disease.
Neuro-BD is more frequent in young males and it never represents a presenting feature of the disease. The most frequent time of onset of neurological involvement seems to be within the first 10 years of disease. Since neurological involvement may result in severe functional disability or be a life-threatening disease, a careful follow-up during the first years after onset is recommended.

PMID: 23009765 [PubMed]

Received: 07/09/2012 - Accepted : 12/09/2012 - In Press: 25/09/2012 - Published: 19/11/2012