Patients with vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) are susceptible to significant vascular complications, such as aortic and visceral arterial ruptures, aneurysms, and dissection. We describe a case of repeated bleeding in a 57-year-old woman and a case of sudden onset of artery dissection in her daughter, both of whom were previously diagnosed with vascular EDS and managed at our institution.
A 57-year-old woman was admitted to our emergency department due to sudden onset of left low back pain. Her past history included vascular EDS. An urgent abdominal computed tomography (CT) scan revealed a left-sided retroperitoneal hematoma and left external iliac artery dissection. Stent graft repair was performed. Five hours postoperatively, cardiac arrest occurred and resuscitation attempts failed. The 32-year-old daughter with genetically diagnosed vascular EDS was notified of the death of her mother during the customary end-of-life conference. Six hours after her mother’s death, she was admitted to our emergency department due to sudden onset of left low back pain. On examination, she was not in hypovolemic shock, and weak pulses were palpable in the bilateral dorsalis pedis. An urgent abdominal CT scan revealed a right-sided retroperitoneal hematoma around the right external iliac artery and left external iliac artery dissection. She was admitted to the intensive care unit and underwent conservative therapy consisting of bed rest and antihypertensive therapy with nicardipine. She developed no further vascular complications requiring surgical intervention and was discharged on the 21st hospital day.
Vascular rupture can be fatal in patients with vascular EDS. This report underscores the importance of strategic management of vascular complications to prevent rupture, and the importance of psychological care for the bereaved family given the hereditary nature of vascular EDS.