Neilson D, Martin VT
Heritable connective tissue disorders (HCTD) present with a wide array of findings, including headache. Because of their unusual substrate, headaches in HCTD can derive from both common and uncommon circumstances.
Ehlers-Danlos hypermobile type can be recognized by multiple joint findings and its tendency to progress to a multisystem chronic pain syndrome. Ehlers-Danlos classic type also manifests joint laxity and similar pain complaints, but is differentiated by its skin laxity and fragility. Ehlers-Danlos vascular type presents the most severe risk due to blood vessel and hollow organ rupture. Marfan syndrome demonstrates skeletal abnormalities, lens dislocations, and aortic root dilation that can result in dissection.
In a headache patient, recognizing the presence of an HCTD improves the strategy for diagnosis and management. A brief review of findings related to joints, skin, and arteries may prompt further investigation into the HCTDs.
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
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