Connective tissue diseases are inherited disorders that affect the collagen in different ways. The most recognized of these conditions are osteogenesis imperfecta, Marfan syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. Collagen is the main component of connective tissue and is the most abundant protein in the human body. Collagen is found in ligaments, tendons and skin as well as in cartilage, bone and blood vessels. These disorders can affect all of these structures in varying ways.
Symptoms of these disorders are different based on genetic inheritance pattern and which type of collagen is affected. They can range from skin fragility and thinness to ligament and joint laxity to brittle bones that bow and fracture.
The primary goal of the Rush Connective Tissue Disease Clinic is to provide a clinical home for individuals diagnosed with these conditions, especially as they transition to adulthood. In addition, individuals who suspect they may have a family history of connective tissue disease or possible symptoms should also seek our medical advice. These conditions are often difficult to diagnose given variable clinical presentations. Our approach at the Rush CTD clinic is comprehensive and includes consultations with other medical specialists, laboratory testing and diagnostic imaging — including bone densitometry, infusion therapy and genetic counseling — all of which can be done at our medical center.
The Rush Connective Tissue Disease Clinic features caring and compassionate physicians, nurses and other medical staff members who evaluate, diagnose and treat adults with connective tissue disease and provide patients with a full range of medical treatment options.
The physicians in the Rush Connective Tissue Disease Clinic collaborate with referring physicians and other specialists to provide expert care, with all of the world-class resources that are available at Rush University Medical Center.
- A multidisciplinary approach to the care of connective tissue diseases, including genetic counseling and medical, cardiac, orthopedic, dental and rehablitation resources
- Potential opportunity to participate in clinical trials
- Latest therapeutic options for connective tissue disease management
- Onsite laboratory, X-ray and bone mineral density testing
- Preventive measures stressing surveillance testing when needed
Sonali Khandelwal, MD
is director of the Rush Connective Tissue Disease Clinic and co-director of the Rush Osteoporosis Treatment Center. She is an assistant professor at Rush University Medical Center. Clinical interests include osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis and osteogenesis-imperfecta.
Joel A. Block, MD
is director of the Section of Rheumatology at Rush.
To schedule an appointment, please call (312) 563-2800.
For more information regarding connective tissue disease research, please call (312) 942-2167.