Objectives Behçet's syndrome (BS) is most active during young adulthood and may cause severe disability. We had previously observed a high frequency of work disability among our Behçet's patients in a cross-sectional study. This time we aimed to evaluate the sustainability of work among our patients who did have a job 5 years ago.
Methods We had surveyed work disability among 300 consecutive Behçet's syndrome patients who attended our clinic in 2009. We had observed that after excluding students, homemakers and retired patients, among the 149 work eligible patients 29 (21%) were unemployed and 120 were employed. We now evaluated those patients who did have a job 5 years ago regarding work loss and reasons for work loss, using a standard questionnaire. We also checked their hospital charts for new types of organ involvement that developed during these 5 years, and any new medications that were started.
Results Among the 120 patients who did have a job in 2009 (87 men, 33 women, mean age 36±8.6, disease duration 9.7±7.1 years, 48% with major organ involvement), we were able to contact 97 patients. Sixteen patients (16%) had lost their jobs during the previous 5 years. Nine of these (11%) were related with Behçet's syndrome and the rest were due to other causes (5 had retired, 1 had a baby, 1 was doing his military service). Among the 81 patients who were still working, 10 (10%) had to change their work place during the last 5 years and were unemployed for a mean of 6.7±5.3 months between these jobs.
Conclusions Work disability is an important problem among Behçet's syndrome patients. During a 5 year follow-up, 11% of patients lost their jobs due to their disease, and a further 11% had to interrupt work and change their work places. We were only able to evaluate work disability in this study, and work productivity is another important issue that needs to be studied among patients with Behçet's syndrome.
Disclosure of Interest None declared