Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is a group of disorders that affect the connective tissues that support the skin, bones, blood vessels, and many other organs and tissues. Defects in connective tissues cause the signs and symptoms of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which vary from mildly loose joints to life-threatening complications.
Previously, there were more than 10 recognized types of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, differentiated by Roman numerals. In 1997, researchers proposed a simpler classification that reduced the number of major types to six and gave them descriptive names: the classical type (formerly types I and II), the hypermobility type (formerly type III), the vascular type (formerly type IV), the kyphoscoliosis type (formerly type VIA), the arthrochalasia type (formerly types VIIA and VIIB), and the dermatosparaxis type (formerly type VIIC). This six-type classification, known as the Villefranche nomenclature, is still commonly used. The types are distinguished by their signs and symptoms, their underlying genetic causes, and their patterns of inheritance. Since 1997, several additional forms of the condition have been described. These additional forms appear to be rare, affecting a small number of families, and most have not been well characterized.