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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Increased thickness of the carotid artery intima-media assessed by ultrasonography in Behçet's disease

G Keser, K Aksu, S Tamsel, M Ozmen, G Kitapcioglu, C Kabaroglu, R Killi, O Bayindir, E Doganavsargil
Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology 2005, 23 (4 Suppl 38): S71-6
16273769

OBJECTIVE: Behçets disease (BD), is a unique systemic vasculitis, which affects almost all types and sizes of blood vessels. Carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) is an endothelial cell dysfunction (ECD) parameter which may also be associated with atherosclerosis. We aimed to search carotid IMT and plaque formation in BD, using high-resolution B-mode Doppler ultrasonography (USG).

METHODS: We studied 114 BD patients (M/F: 68/46; mean age 38.15 +/- 9.44 years; disease duration 121 +/- 79 months), being followed up by Ege University Rheumatology Department. Age and sex-matched, 77 healthy controls, and as the disease control group 46 non-matched SLE patients were also included. Exclusion criteria for all the study participants were hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes mellitus, obesity and history of cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease. Comparison of the three groups were made by ANOVA and for post-hoc confirmation, Bonferoni test was used.

RESULTS: The carotid IMT in BD (mean +/- SD, 0.55 +/- 0.14 mm) was significantly higher than in healthy controls (0.48 +/- 0.09 mm) (p = 0.004), but significantly lower than in SLE (0.66 +/- 0.24 mm) (p = 0.001). Likewise, plaque frequency in BD (5/114) was significantly higher than in healthy controls (0/77), but significantly lower than in SLE (8/46) (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSION: Despite significantly higher carotid IMT and plaque frequency in BD compared with healthy controls, these parameters in BD were not as marked as in SLE. Less severe carotid artery abnormalities in BD, may partially explain why cardiovascular morbidity and mortality do not seem to be increased in BD, unlike in SLE.

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