BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to examine the influence of age at diagnosis and sex on the clinical course and long-term prognosis of intestinal Behcet's disease (BD).
METHODS: We reviewed the medical records of 291 patients with intestinal BD who underwent regular follow-up at a single tertiary academic medical center. The patients were divided into two groups according to their age at diagnosis of intestinal BD or sex. The cumulative probabilities of operation, admission, corticosteroid use, and immunosuppressant use after diagnosis were analyzed using the Kaplan-Meier method and a log-rank test.
RESULTS: Of the 291 patients, 154 (52.9%) were diagnosed with intestinal BD when younger than 40 years old, and 132 (45.4%) were male. Younger age at diagnosis was associated with a higher leukocyte count, C-reactive protein (CRP) level, and disease activity index for intestinal BD, and with a greater prevalence of volcano-shaped ulcers and a definite diagnostic subtype. Moreover, the cumulative probabilities of operation, admission, and corticosteroid use were significantly higher in the younger group. Male sex was associated with a higher CRP level and a greater prevalence of volcano-shaped ulcers. However, there were no significant differences in cumulative probabilities of operation, admission, corticosteroid use, and immunosuppressant use according to sex.
CONCLUSIONS: In intestinal BD, younger age at diagnosis is associated with a more severe clinical course and a poorer prognosis. However, although some clinical manifestations at initial diagnosis tend to be more severe in male patients, clinical outcomes do not differ significantly according to sex.