Abstract: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in Adolescents: A Follow-up Study

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2004 Mar;158(3):225-9.

Gill AC, Dosen A, Ziegler JB.

Departments of General Pediatrics and Immunology, Allergy, and Infectious Diseases, Sydney Children’s Hospital, Sydney, Australia.

OBJECTIVES: To compare the frequency of persistent symptoms up to 8 years after illness onset in adolescents diagnosed as having chronic fatigue syndrome, idiopathic chronic fatigue, and unexplained fatigue for less than 6 months, and to determine if hospital admission is associated with outcome.

DESIGN: A cohort study using questionnaire follow-up.

SETTING: A tertiary referral hospital.Patients Consecutive adolescents referred for assessment of persistent fatigue were identified and retrospectively divided into 3 groups according to the diagnostic criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome and idiopathic chronic fatigue.Intervention A questionnaire was designed and administered by telephone at a mean of 4.57 years after the initial examination.Main Outcome Measure The persistence of self-reported symptoms was compared with respect to patient group and admission.

RESULTS: Outcome data were obtained for 34 (69%) of the 49 eligible subjects. Twenty-five percent of the chronic fatigue syndrome group showed near to complete improvement, 31% showed partial improvement, and 44% showed no improvement. The idiopathic chronic fatigue group had near to complete recovery in 50%, partial in 10%, and no improvement in 40%. Those with unexplained fatigue for less than 6 months had all recovered. There was no difference between the outcome of the subjects admitted to the hospital and those managed as outpatients.

CONCLUSIONS: Adolescents with less than 6 months of fatigue have a good outcome. Unexplained fatigue lasting more than 6 months has a similar outcome regardless of the presence of minor criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome.

PMID: 14993080 [PubMed – in process]

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