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Prevalence of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) in Italian patients with persistent fatigue

  [ 10 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • October 5, 1994

Our study was carried out to determine the prevalence of chronic
fatigue syndrome (CFS) within a selected population of
patients suffering from persistent fatigue. We studied
subjects with recurrent or persistent fatigue lasting 6 months
and fulfilling at least four minor Center for Disease Control
(CDC) criteria for the diagnosis of CFS. Evaluation included
both clinical examination and laboratory testing. All subjects
filled out a questionnaire specifically designed to gain
information about the length and severity of symptoms, and
patients with a previously diagnosed illness associated with
fatigue were excluded. The study was carried out at the
Fatigue Clinic of an internal medicine unit (Clinica Medica I)
of the University of Rome "La Sapienza". Sixty-three subjects,
residents of the Lazio region (central Italy), completed the
diagnostic assessment. Alternative diagnoses were established
in 37 (59%) of the 63 patients. A diagnosis of CFS based on
the CDC criteria was established in only 6 cases. In 2
subjects, CFS had appeared following infectious mononucleosis,
and no definitive diagnosis could be formulated for 18
patients. In Italy, CFS seems to be an infrequent cause of
severe and persistent fatigue in a selected population.
Numerous morbid conditions may be responsible for a clinical
picture closely resembling CFS. We recommend that patients
suffering from fatigue be thoroughly evaluated.

Conti F, Priori R, De Petrillo G, Rusconi AC, Arpino C, Valesini G

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