Research in developmental disabilities | 8 Jan 2013
I De Wandele, L Rombaut, F Malfait, T De Backer, A De Paepe and P Calders
EDS-HT is a connective tissue disorder characterized by large inter-individual differences in the clinical presentation, complicating diagnosis and treatment. We aim to describe the clinical heterogeneity and to investigate whether differences in the symptom profile are also reflected as disparity in functional impairment and pain experience. In this study, 78 patients were asked to describe their symptoms due to EDS-HT. Next, a hierarchical cluster analysis was performed using the Jaccard measure of similarity to assess whether subgroups could be distinguished based on the symptoms reported. This analysis yielded 3 clusters of participants with distinct complaint profiles. The key differences were found in the domain of non-musculoskeletal complaints, which was significantly larger in cluster 2. Furthermore, cluster 2 was characterized by a worse physical and psychosocial health, a higher pain severity and a larger pain interference in daily life. The results emphasize that non-musculoskeletal symptoms are an important complication of EDS-HT, as the number of these complaints was found to be a significant predictor for both functional health status (SIP) and pain experience (MPI). In conclusion, this study confirms that EDS-HT is a heterogeneous entity and encourages the clinician to be more aware of the large variety of EDS-HT symptoms, in order to improve disease recognition and to establish more tailored treatment strategies.
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