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Original research
Arterial complications in classical Ehlers-Danlos syndrome: a case series


Background The Ehlers-Danlos syndromes (EDS) are a group of connective tissue disorders with several recognised types. Patients with a type of EDS have connective tissue abnormalities resulting in a varying degree of joint hypermobility, skin and vascular fragility and generalised tissue friability. Classical EDS (cEDS) typically occurs as a result of dominant pathogenic variants in COL5A1 or COL5A2. The cardinal features of cEDS are hyperextensible skin, atrophic scarring and joint hypermobility. Arterial complications are more characteristically a feature of vascular EDS although individual cases of arterial events in cEDS have been reported.

Methods A cohort of 154 patients with a clinical diagnosis of cEDS from the UK was analysed.

Results Seven patients (4.5%) with a diagnosis of cEDS (four pathogenic, one likely pathogenic and two variants of uncertain significance in COL5A1) who had experienced arterial complications were identified. Arterial complications mostly involved medium-sized vessels and also two abdominal aortic aneurysms. No unique clinical features were identified in this group of patients.

Conclusion There is a possible increased risk of arterial complications in patients with cEDS, although not well-defined. Clinicians need to be aware of this possibility when presented with a patient with an arterial complication and features of cEDS. Long-term management in families with cEDS and a vascular complication should be individually tailored to the patient’s history and their family’s history of vascular events.

  • clinical genetics
  • other cardiovascular medicine
  • dermatology
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