Behcet’s disease (BD) is a multi-systemic inflammatory disorder of an unknown etiology and shows a chronic recurrent clinical course. When the disease involves the alimentary tract, it is called intestinal BD because of its clinical importance. Intestinal BD is more frequently reported in East Asian countries than in Western or Middle Eastern countries. While any part of the gastrointestinal tract can be involved, the most common location of intestinal BD is the ileocecal area. A few, large, deep ulcerations with discrete border are characteristic endoscopic findings of intestinal BD. Currently, there is no single gold standard test or pathognomonic finding of intestinal BD. However, recently developed novel diagnostic criteria and a disease activity index have helped in assessing intestinal BD. As intestinal BD shares a lot of characteristics with inflammatory bowel disease, including genetic background, clinical manifestations, and therapeutic strategies, distinguishing between the two diseases in clinical practice is quite difficult. However, biologic agents such as anti-tumor necrosis factor α antibody shows a considerable efficacy similar to inflammatory bowel disease cases. It is important to distinguish and treat those two disease entities separately from the standpoint of precise medicine. Clinicians should require comprehensive knowledge regarding the similarities and differences between intestinal BD and inflammatory bowel disease for making an accurate clinical decision.
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© Yonsei University College of Medicine 2016.
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