The dedicated facility offers diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation and research for Ehlers-Danlos syndromes, a group of rare inherited conditions that affect connective tissue.
Ehlers-Danlos syndromes (EDS) causes damage to the body’s connective tissue structure, which includes skin, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, bones and internal organs. A gene mutation causes connective tissue (the specific kind depends on the type of EDS) to be stretchy and fragile. Sometimes, the stretchiness is visible in the skin of a person with EDS, while other people have hypermobility – they can extend their joints further than usual. The symptoms of EDS are broad and can be complex, affecting many body systems simultaneously and including intense long-term pain, chronic fatigue, digestive disorders, and palpitations.
In Israel, there are approximately 500 patients with EDS; about 87% are women. Unfortunately, due to a lack of awareness of the disease, many of these people have not received necessary treatments.
Dr. Yael Gazit, pediatrician and EDS specialist, heads the new Center for Diagnosis and Treatment of Ehlers-Danlos Syndromes. She shared, “We have begun to collaborate with the hospital’s multidisciplinary teams to build a broad therapeutic and rehabilitative program for patients with EDS. Already, we are witnessing an increase in the number of patients who approach us and receive a response after many years of being undiagnosed or untreated.”
“As a part of the public health movement in Israel, Sheba will lead the treatment of patients with EDS. Our emphasis is on continuity of care, including diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation and research. We are devoting special resources and attention to the population of EDS patients,” said Prof. Gabriel Zeilig, Director of Neurological Rehabilitation Division at Sheba.
“I’m happy for this opportunity to coordinate the care of EDS patients under one roof, giving them an optimal overall medical response,” adds Gazit.