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Diagnosis of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome after a first shoulder dislocation.

BACKGROUND: Shoulder dislocation is often the first symptom of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS). Whether it occurs in early-onset EDS is unknown. In most cases, surgical failure leads to the diagnosis. We aimed to determine whether clinical symptoms can signal the presence of EDS at a first dislocation.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: In this retrospective study, we analyzed clinical and radiologic data for 27 patients with EDS and shoulder instability and a control population of 40 consecutive non-EDS patients undergoing surgery for an unstable shoulder. Data were collected on gender, age, single or bilateral disease, general hyperlaxity, shoulder hyperlaxity, number of dislocations or subluxations, nontraumatic onset, and pain specificity. Nerve and vascular injuries, joint disorders, and family history were recorded, and radiologic data were reported.

RESULTS: Age <14 years, female sex, bilateral disorder, and general hyperlaxity were significantly more frequent in patients with EDS and a first dislocation than in those without EDS. Painless dislocation with pain after dislocation and concomitant nerve injury were more frequent in affected patients, as were hemostasis disorders and a family history of joint hyperlaxity. Bone lesions were not seen on radiographs. Only the hyperlaxity sign (external rotation >85°) did not differ between the groups.

CONCLUSION: After a first dislocation in a young girl with global hyperlaxity but not necessarily shoulder hyperlaxity, painless atraumatic dislocation with pain after reduction can suggest EDS.

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