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Collagen vascular disease


In a class of diseases known as autoimmune disorders, the body's immune system attacks its own tissues. Some of these diseases are similar to each other such as arthritis and inflammation of arteries in the tissues. People who developed these disorders were previously said to have "connective tissue" or "collagen vascular" disease. We now have names for many of many specific conditions such as:

When a specific disease cannot be diagnosed, more general terms may be used. These include as undifferentiated systemic rheumatic (connective tissue) diseases or overlap syndromes.


Dermatomyositis, heliotrope eyelids
Polyarteritis, microscopic on the shin
Systemic lupus erythematosus rash on the face
Rheumatoid arthritis


Bennett R. Overlap syndromes. In: Firestein GS, Budd RC, Harris ED Jr, et al, eds. Kelley's Textbook of Rheumatology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 86.

Mosca M, Tani C, Bornbardieri S. Undifferentiated connective tissue diseases (UCTD): a new frontier for rheumatology. Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol. 2007;21(6):1011-23. PMID: 18068858

Review Date: 
Reviewed By: 
Gordon A. Starkebaum, MD, professor of medicine, division of rheumatology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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