Clin Rheumatol - (-) - [2021-11-29; online 2021-11-29]
To present the clinical characteristics, disease course, management, and outcomes of COVID-19 infection in patients with Behcet's disease (BD). In this retrospective cohort study, we retrieved BD patients with definite diagnosis of COVID-19 infection. Demographic data, comorbidities, features related both to BD and COVID-19 infection, treatments, and outcomes were collected. Comparisons between patients with or without hospitalization were performed. All statistical analyzes were performed using SPSS version 25. We considered p < 0.05 statistically significant. We identified 61 episodes of COVID-19 infection in 59 BD patients. The prevalence was 0.69%. The median age was 45 years (IQR = 20), and the median disease duration was 162 months (IQR = 195). BD features were similar except for higher rate of arterial involvement and positive pathergy test in infected patients. Thirty-five episodes (62.5%) happened in non-active patients; 39% had a comorbid disease. COVID manifestations were the same as the general population. Flu-like symptoms were the most common (85%), followed by fever (66%), ageusia/anosmia (56%), headache (51%), and pulmonary involvement (48%). There was no change in BD symptoms in 74%. Fifteen patients (25.4%) were hospitalized, and one patient (1.7%) died. Receiving glucocorticoids (p < 0.03) and cytotoxic drugs (p < 0.02) were associated with an increased rate of hospitalization. The incidence of COVID-19 infection in BD patients was not higher than general population in Iran. They showed milder form of disease with lower morbidity and mortality rate. Most were on immunosuppressive drugs, or had a comorbidity apart from BD. No significant effect on BD course was shown. Key Points • The incidence of COVID-19 infection in patients with Behcet's disease is not higher. • They showed milder form of infection with lower morbidity and mortality rate. • No significant effect on Behcet's disease course was shown with COVID19 infection. • BD patients can be managed according to the guidelines used for general population.