BACKGROUND: A disruption of the extracellular matrix (ECM) of the intracranial arterial wall is a likely contributing factor in the pathogenesis of intracranial aneurysms. If this is a generalized process, patients with subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH) may have subtle signs of a general laxity of the connective tissue. We performed a pilot study to assess general laxity in SAH patients and to examine which tests for joint mobility can be best used in these patients.
METHODS: In 59 SAH patients and sex- and age-matched controls we compared: (1) joint mobility (scores of Beighton and Bulbena and the total range of joint motion); (2) skin extensibility, and (3) bone quantity and stiffness. For the analyses we used the independent-samples T test and linear regression with adjustment for possible confounders.
RESULTS: The patients had a higher degree of joint mobility according to the Beighton criteria (total score of 4 in patients vs. 2 in controls, p = 0.001) and the summation of Z scores of active range of motion measurements (0.1 in patients vs. -0.1 in controls, p = 0.0036), and a tendency towards a higher degree of joint mobility according to the Bulbena criteria (total score of 3 in patients vs. 2 in controls, p = 0.097) and the summation of active range of joint motion measurements (1,292 in patients vs. 1,275 in controls, p = 0.13). No differences were found for the other investigated characteristics.
CONCLUSIONS: Our preliminary results suggest that SAH patients have a higher degree of joint mobility than controls. The Beighton score can be best used in our patient population.