A comparison of case definitions of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

We compared three case definitions of chronic fatigue syndrome
(CFS) applied to patients followed in CFS clinics at two
institutions. All patients had debilitating fatigue without
apparent etiology; patients with medical conditions associated
with chronic fatigue and with major psychiatric disorders were
stratified and presented separately. Patients were classified
according to whether they met case definitions developed by a
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Working
Group, a British group, or an Australian group. When findings
for 805 patients followed at the two clinics were combined,
61% met the CDC criteria, 55% met the British criteria, and
56% met the Australian criteria; these proportions were
relatively similar at both sites. In addition, similar
laboratory abnormalities were found for all case groups and
for fatigued patients who met none of the three case
definitions. These data suggest that more inclusive case
definitions may be superior.

Bates DW, Buchwald D, Lee J, Kith P, Doolittle TH, Umali P, Komaroff

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