Disorders of collagen are associated with a mild bleeding tendency because of the potential abnormal interaction of collagen, von Willebrand factor (VWF) and platelets required during primary haemostasis and due to generalized soft tissue fragility. Abnormal collagen may contribute to bleeding in existing mucocutaneous bleeding disorders, but the prevalence in this setting is unknown. Generalized symptomatic joint hypermobility (SJH) is common in collagen disorders and may be objectively measured. To assess the association between symptomatic joint hypermobility and mucocutaneous bleeding disorders, we performed a case-control study in which case subjects were 55 consecutive individuals who had visited our bleeding disorder clinic with a diagnosis of von Willebrand disease, low von Willebrand factor levels, mild platelet function disorder or undefined bleeding disorder. Controls were 50 subjects without a bleeding disorder, and were age and gender matched to the cases. All subjects were assessed with: (i) Beighton score for joint hypermobility, (ii) revised Brighton criteria, (iii) Condensed MCMDM1-VWD bleeding questionnaire, and (iv) haemostasis laboratory studies. The prevalence of SJH/suspected collagen disorder in the bleeding disorder clinic was 24% (13/55) compared with 2% (1/50) in the control population (OR 15, 95% CI 2-121). Seventy-seven per cent of bleeding disorder clinic SJH subjects (10/13) had a prior personal or family history of Ehlers-Danlos, Benign Joint Hypermobility Syndrome or Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI). Symptomatic joint hypermobility was associated with increased odds of an underlying mucocutaneous bleeding disorder. These findings suggest that a collagen disorder is common and often unrecognized in the bleeding disorder clinic as a potential contributor to the bleeding symptoms.
© 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.