The records of 1238 patients with recurrent aphthous stomatitis followed-up at the Multidisciplinary Behcet's Disease Unit at Ankara University Faculty of Medicine during the years 1988-2002 were retrospectively analysed. The patients with systemic diseases known to be associated with oral aphthous lesions such as systemic lupus erythematosus and inflammatory bowel diseases were excluded. At the first visit every patient was evaluated with complete dermatologic examination and ophthalmologic examination. Laboratory tests including complete blood count, serum biochemistry, vitamin Bi2, folic acid, ferritin, ANA and anti-ds DNA levels and three-step pathergy test were performed. During the follow-up period the patients were evaluated every six months and whenever needed. Any additional symptom related with Behget's disease was recorded.
The data extracted from the record of each patient included the demographic features (age, sex), the age at onset of oral aphthous lesions, localisation and morphology of aphthous lesions (minor, major, herpetiform), the result of the three-step pathergy test, ophthalmologic examination, and the time of onset of any other manifestation of Behcet's disease. The diagnosis of Behget's disease in patients with additional symptoms was made according to the criteria of International Study Group for Behget's disease.
We compared the demographic features, morphology and the age at onset of oral aphthous lesions in patients with recurrent aphthous stomatitis with those patients who developed Behget's disease during the follow-up period to determine the risk factors for the development of Behget's disease. The results were analysed statistically by using student's t-tests and chi square (%2) tests.
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