A case of 37 year long Behçet disease resembling Takayasu arteritis: An autopsy report

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A 19-year-old woman with a history of recurrent aphthous stomatitis and genital ulceration was diagnosed with Behçet disease. She was treated with steroids and immunosuppressive agents for more than 30 years, but multiple complications manifested including ileocecal ulcer, aortic valve regurgitation, renal failure, ischemic enterocolitis, and arteriosclerotic obliterans until her death at the age of 56 from pneumonia. An autopsy examination demonstrated an entirely calcified aorta and major aortic branches. The ascending aorta was dilatated 55 mm in diameter and branches were all stenosed. Microscopically, the aortic arch and its branches showed collagenous fibrosis of the outer media and adventitia, whereas coronary and abdominal aortic branches showed conventional atherosclerosis. Although the ante-mortem diagnosis was angio-Behçet disease, its pathophysiology along with her clinical history, morphology of the lead pipe-like aorta, predominant destruction of the outer arteries, and a human leukocyte antigen (HLA) haplotype of B39 were all suggestive of Takayasu arteritis. Thus, this case implies that HLA-B39 may be associated with the pathogenesis of arteritis like Takayasu arteritis, even if the primary disease is Behçet disease.

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