Behcet's disease (BD) is a chronic, multisystem disorder characterized by genital and oral aphthae, skin lesions, uveitis, and tendency to thrombosis. Pulse wave velocity (PWV) is an important factor in determining cardiovascular mortality and morbidity. It is an index of arterial wall stiffness and inversely related to the arterial distensibility. In this study we investigated the arterial distensibility in BD by PWV. We studied 14 patients with BD ( 18 - 44 years old, 10 men) and 28 healthy subjects ( 18 - 39 years old, 21 men) without known cardiovascular disease. Arterial distensibility was assessed by automatic carotid-femoral PWV measurement using the Complior Colson device. PWV is calculated from measurements of pulse transit time and the distance traveled by the pulse between two recording sites, according to the following formula: pulse wave velocity (m/s)= distance (m)/transit time(s). The mean ages, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, pulse pressure, heart rate, and PWV of Behcet's disease and control subjects were 32.1 +/- 7.4 vs 27.9 +/- 6.1 years, 112.9 +/- 12.0 vs 108.7 +/- 10.0 mmHg, 72.1 +/- 10.7 vs 67.7 +/- 7.5 mmHg, 40.7 +/- 12.2 vs 41.0 +/- 10.7 mmHg, 74.1 +/- 10.2 vs 77.2 +/- 10.1 bpm, and 8.4 +/- 1.4 vs 8.5 +/- 1.1 m/s, respectively. Differences between all parameters studied were not found to be statistically significant ( p> 0.05). The carotid-femoral PWV, an index of arterial stiffness and a marker of atherosclerosis, is not increased in patients with BD compared with control subjects.