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Ehlers-Danlos syndrome vascular type

Other Names for this Disease
  • EDS IV (formerly)
  • EDS4 (formerly)
  • Ehlers Danlos syndrome, arterial type
  • Ehlers Danlos syndrome, ecchymotic type
  • Ehlers Danlos syndrome, Sack-Barabas type
More Names
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Your Question

What is Ehlers-Danlos syndrome vascular type? What are the symptoms and how is it treated?

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

What is Ehlers-Danlos syndrome?

Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) is a group of disorders that affect connective tissue, which supports the skin, bones, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, and other organs. The signs and symptoms of EDS vary by type and range from mildly loose joints to life-threatening complications. An unusually large range of joint movement (hypermobility) occurs with most forms, particularly the hypermobility type. Many people with EDS also have soft, velvety skin that is highly elastic and fragile. Affected individuals tend to bruise easily, and some types of the condition also cause abnormal scarring. Some forms of EDS, notably the vascular type and kyphoscoliosis type, can involve serious and potentially life-threatening complications. EDS may be caused by mutations in any one of several genes; the inheritance pattern varies by type.[1]
Last updated: 3/2/2012

Are there different types of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome?

Yes. Although all types of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome affect the joints and many also affect the skin, features vary by type. There are six well characterized types, namely the arthrochalasia type, the classic type, the dermatosparaxis type, the hypermobility type, the kyphoscoliosis type, and the vascular type.[2]
Last updated: 12/3/2009

What is Ehlers-Danlos syndrome vascular type (type 4)?

Ehlers-Danlos syndrome vascular type is a connective tissue disease. Symptoms include thin, translucent skin, easy bruising, characteristic facial appearance, and fragile arteries, intestine, and/or uterus. It is inherited in an autosomal dominant manner and is caused by mutations in the COL3A1 gene.[3]
Last updated: 12/3/2009

What are the signs and symptoms of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, vascular type?

Signs and symptoms of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, vascular type, include;[3]

Characteristic symptoms

  • Thin, translucent skin 
  • Easy bruising 
  • Characteristic facial appearance (thin lips, small chin, thin nose, large eyes)
  • Arterial, intestinal, and/or uterine fragility

In the Newborn

  • Club foot
  • Dislocation of the hips

In Childhood

  • Inguinal (groin) hernia
  • Joint dislocations or partial dislocations (subluxation)
  • Pneumothorax (the collection of air or gas in the space around the lungs, which leads to a lung collapse)

Other symptoms

  • Aged appearance of the limbs, particularly the hands
  • Early-onset varicose veins
  • Receding gums
Last updated: 12/3/2009

Can Ehler Danlos syndrome, vascular type cause serious complications?

Yes. Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, vascular type can cause serious complications. Complications of this syndrome include the rupture or breaking of blood vessels, a tear (perforation) in the wall of the intestines, or a rupture of a body organ or muscle. These complications can be life threatening and may result in internal bleeding, stroke, and shock. Other complications include the ballooning of a wall of a blood vessel or artery (aneurysm) and abnormal connections between arteries and veins (arteriovenous fistulae). 

In addition, women with the vascular type of EDS have as much as a 12% higher risk for death from arterial rupture or uterine rupture during pregnancy than do pregnant women without EDS vascular type.[3]

Last updated: 12/3/2009

How common are Ehler Danlos syndrome, vacular type complications?

It is estimated that one in four individuals with Ehler Danlos syndrome, vascular type experience a significant medical problem by age 20 years. More than 80% of individuals with this syndrome experience a significant medical problem by age 40 years.[3] 
Last updated: 12/3/2009

How might Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, vascular type be treated?

Treatment of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, vascular type may include surgery for artery or bowel complications. Pregnant women with this syndrome should be followed in a high-risk obstetrical program. People with this syndrome should seek immediate medical attention for sudden unexplained pain, and should wear a MedicAlert® bracelet.[3]

People with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, vascular type require periodic follow-up which may involve screening the arteries using a technique called venous subtraction angiography and MRI or CT scan without contrast material. Arteriograms are not recommended because of the risk of injury to blood vessels. People with the vascular type EDS should also minimize risk of injury by avoiding contact sports, heavy lifting, and weight training. Elective surgery is also discouraged.[3]

Last updated: 12/3/2009

How is Ehlers-Danlos syndrome inherited?

The inheritance pattern of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome varies by type. The vascular form of EDS has an autosomal dominant pattern of inheritance.[3][2]
Last updated: 12/3/2009

What is autosomal dominant inheritance?

Autosomal dominant inheritance is when one mutated copy of the gene that causes a disorder in each cell is needed for a person to be affected. Autosomal dominant conditions may occur for the first time in a person in a family due to a spontaneous gene mutation, or these conditions may be inherited from an affected parent. When a person with an autosomal dominant disorder has a child, there is a 50% chance that their child will inherit the condition.[4]
Last updated: 12/3/2009

How can I find a genetics professional in my area?

Genetics clinics are a source of information for individuals and families regarding genetic conditions, treatment, inheritance, and genetic risks to other family members. More information about genetic consultations is available from Genetics Home Reference. To find a genetics clinic, we recommend that you contact your primary healthcare provider for a referral.

The following online resources can help you find a genetics professional in your community:

Last updated: 1/21/2014