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Longitudinal changes associated with improvement in chronic fatigue patients

  [ 26 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ]
By Russo J, Katon W, Clark M, Kith P, Sintay M, Buchwald D • • July 9, 1998

Tertiary care patients with chronic fatigue were followed for
2.5 years to determine if changes in physical and
psychological status were associated with improvements in
chronic fatigue, physical functioning, and return to work.
Results indicated that improvement in psychological symptoms,
DSM-III-R disorders, physical examination signs, and changes
in whether the patient continued to meet criteria for chronic
fatigue syndrome (CFS) were associated with recovery from
fatigue, improved functioning, and return to work. Patients
who never met CFS criteria or only met criteria at the initial
assessment, reported improved physical functioning. Patients
whose psychiatric disorders and physical examination signs
were still present at a mean follow-up time of 2.5 years were
more likely to have persistent fatigue and work disability.
Loss of physical examination signs was a significant
independent predictor of improved functioning and return to
work. These results suggest that psychiatric status, as well
as physical status, are associated with recovery from chronic

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