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Health status in patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) & in general population & disease comparison groups

  [ 21 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • September 5, 1996

PURPOSE: To measure the functional status and well-being of
patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), and compare them
with those of a general population group and six disease
comparison groups.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: The subjects of the
study were patients with CFS (n = 223) from a CFS clinic, a
population-based control sample (n = 2,474), and disease
comparison groups with hypertension (n = 2,089), congestive
heart failure (n = 216), type II diabetes mellitus (n = 163),
acute myocardial infarction (n = 107), multiple sclerosis (n
= 25), and depression (n = 502). We measured functional
status and well-being using the Medical Outcomes Study
36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36), which is a
self-administered questionnaire in which lower scores are
indicative of greater impairment.

RESULTS: Patients with CFS
had far lower mean scores than the general population control
subjects on all eight SF-36 scales. They also scored
significantly lower than patients in all the disease
comparison groups other than depression on virtually all the
scales. When compared with patients with depression, they
scored significantly lower on all the scales except for scales
measuring mental health and role disability due to emotional
problems, on which they scored significantly higher. The two
SF-36 scales reflecting mental health were not correlated with
any of the symptoms of CFS except for irritability and

CONCLUSION: Patients with CFS had marked
impairment, in comparison with the general population and
disease comparison groups. Moreover, the degree and pattern
of impairment was different from that seen in patients with

MCM: Compared 223 CFS pts withe healthy controls and with pts
w other illnesses (hypertension, CHF, Type I diabetes
mellitus, acute MI, multiple sclerosis, and depression) using
the Medical Outcomes Study SF-36. CFS pts scored much lower
(more abnormal) than pts in all disease comparison groups
other than depression on virrually all scales... Pts w CFS had
marked impairment which differed from depression.

Komaroff AL, Fagioli LR, Doolittle TH, Gandek B, Gleit MA, Guerriero
RT, Kornish RJ 2nd, Ware NC, Ware JE Jr, Bates DW

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