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Can we predict recovery in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)?

  [ 1111 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • November 8, 1999

PURPOSE: To determine if selected demographic or clinical features
of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) are associated with

PATIENTS AND METHODS: A follow-up questionnaire was
mailed to 341 patients who had been ill on average for nine
years to ascertain "recovery" rate (defined as self-reported
recovery on a visual analog scale). Baseline demographic and
clinical features (functional status and psychological status)
recorded at the time of the initial (baseline) clinical visit
were analyzed for their association with recovery at the time
of follow-up.

RESULTS: Of the 177 patients who responded to
the follow-up questionnaire, only 21 (12%) reported
"recovery." Patients with higher levels of physical and social
functioning and lower levels of anxiety and
obsessive-compulsiveness at baseline were more likely to
report recovery at follow-up (p < 0.05). No specific
demographic characteristics were associated with recovery.

CONCLUSION: These findings support previous research that
complete recovery from CFS is rare and that patients with less
severe illness at the initial clinic visit are more likely to
have a positive prognosis for recovery. However, considerable
overlap in illness severity was observed between the recovered
and nonrecovered groups, suggesting that accurate prediction
of recovery in individual CFS patients is not currently

Pheley AM, Melby D, Schenck C, Mandel J, Peterson PK

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