OBJECTIVE: To (1) establish the association of the most common reported symptoms on disability; and (2) study the effectiveness of treatment on disability in patients with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome-hypermobility type (EDS-HT)/hypermobility syndrome (HMS).
DATA SOURCES: An electronic search (Medical Subject Headings and free-text terms) was conducted in bibliographic databases CENTRAL/MEDLINE.
STUDY SELECTION: Comparative, cross-sectional, longitudinal cohort studies and (randomized) controlled trials including patients with HMS/EDS-HT aged ≥17 years were considered for inclusion. A class of symptoms was included when 5 publications were available. In regards to treatment (physical, cognitive interventions), only (randomized) controlled trials were considered. Surgical and medicinal interventions were excluded.
DATA EXTRACTION: Bias was assessed according to the methodological scoring tools of the Cochrane collaboration. Z-score transformations were applied to classify the extent of disability in comparison with healthy controls and to ensure comparability between studies.
DATA SYNTHESIS: Initially, the electronic search yielded 714 publications, and 21 articles remained for analysis after selection. The following symptoms were included for meta-analysis: pain (n=12), fatigue (n=6), and psychological distress (n=7). Pain (r=.64, P=.021), fatigue (r=.91, P=.011), and psychological distress (r=.86, P=.018) had a significant impact on disability. Regarding treatment, a significant pain reduction was achieved by a variety of physical and cognitive approaches. Treatment effectiveness on disability was not established.
CONCLUSIONS: Disability can affect patients with HMS/EDS-HT significantly and is highly correlated with both physical and psychological factors. Although evidence is available that physical and psychological treatment modalities can induce significant pain reduction, the evidence regarding disability reduction is lacking.