Case Report

A 30-year-old female Behçet’s disease patient with recurrent pleural and pericardial effusion and elevated adenosine deaminase levels: case report

Joon Young Choi, Sung-Hwan Kim, Seung-Ki Kwok, Jung Im Jung, Kyo-Young Lee, Tae-Jung Kim, Ji Young Kang


Behçet’s disease is a systemic disease which may involve various organs. We describe a case of a patient diagnosed as pleuropericardial involvement of Behçet’s disease. A 30-year-old woman visited our clinic presented with left pleuritic chest pain for s days. She had been diagnosed as Behçet’s disease and admitted to our clinic due to pericardial and pleural effusion repeatedly in past two years. In the previous studies, effusion analysis revealed to be lympho-dominant exudate with high adenosine deaminase level. Acid-fast bacilli (AFB) culture and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for mycobacterial tuberculosis (M.TB) were negative in the pericardial tissue, and pathologic finding showed mild endothelitis with micro-thrombi formation in the lumen. The patient had been treated with antituberculous medication for a year. In the current admission, chest computed tomography (CT) again showed left pleural effusion without other significant lesion. Pleural fluid analysis was similar with the previous study. Video-assisted thoracoscopic pleural biopsy was performed to obtain the definite diagnosis. Pathology confirmed the diagnosis as pleuropericardial involvement of Behçet’s disease, and we treated the patient with oral steroid in the out-patient department. Pleuropericardial involvement of Behçet’s disease may mimic TB pleurisy or pericarditis due to high adenosine deaminase (ADA) level in effusion analysis. Clinicians should keep in mind that Behçet’s disease may manifest as pleural or pericardial effusion, and pathologic confirmation could be helpful for the definite diagnosis.

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