What is the role of a pathergy test in the workup of Behçet disease?

Updated: Dec 21, 2020
  • Author: Nicole Davey-Ranasinghe, MD; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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For the pathergy test, a sterile blunt needle is inserted into the skin of the forearm. The development of an inflammatory papule or pustule within 24-48 hours constitutes a positive result. This finding reflects an overactive immune response to minor injuries. Histologic studies of these lesions reveals mononuclear cell infiltrates and keratinocytes.

The pathergy test is helpful but is not sensitive or specific for the diagnosis of Behçet disease. Positive results tend to be more common in Mediterranean patients. 

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