Children's Hospital Colorado

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS)

What is Ehlers-Danlos syndrome?

Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) is a group of disorders that causes abnormal flexibility or elasticity of the body's connective tissues, such as the skin, joints and blood vessels. There are 14 types of EDS, and all except one have a known specific genetic cause. This number will almost certainly increase over time as researchers discover new types. The most common type is hypermobile EDS or hEDS, which does not yet have a known genetic cause.

What causes Ehlers-Danlos syndrome in children?

All types of pediatric Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, except hypermobile EDS, are caused by known alterations in the genes that are responsible for the structure of connective tissue proteins. Researchers have not yet defined the genetic basis of hypermobile EDS. However, the pattern of inheritance is strong within families and seems to occur in an "autosomal dominant" fashion. This means that if a parent is affected by the hypermobile type, there is about a 50% chance that their children will also have it.

Who gets Ehlers-Danlos syndrome?

EDS is a genetic disorder, which means it is passed on from parents to their children. EDS occurs in females and males, but the severity of symptoms seems to be greater in females. For the most common type, hypermobile EDS, some symptoms may be present in childhood. However, symptoms typically increase in number and severity during and after puberty. Our team treats children of all ages and adults with EDS into their late 20s.