Abstract: Chronic fatigue syndrome. The patient centred clinical method–a guide for the perplexed

Aust Fam Physician. 2003 Nov;32(11):883-7.

Murdoch JC.

School of Primary, Aboriginal and Rural Health Care, Rural Clinical School, University of Western Australia. cmurdoch@rcs.uwa.edu.au

BACKGROUND: Chronic fatigue states are common in general practice and over the past 20 years there has been considerable worldwide consensus developed on the criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) also commonly known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). Chronic fatigue syndrome is an illness characterised by the new onset of disabling fatigue, accompanied by cognitive, musculoskeletal and sleep symptoms. There are no specific diagnostic tests or biological markers and the diagnosis is made by ruling out other causes of fatigue. The pathophysiology of CFS is still unclear.

OBJECTIVE: This article discusses the application of the patient centred clinical method to the diagnosis and treatment of CFS.

DISCUSSION: There is no new breakthrough in the diagnosis or management of CFS in spite of much research and controversy. There is considerable evidence that the best place to manage CFS is in primary care under the care of the patient’s own general practitioner, but it has been suggested that doctors feel unable to deal with the problem. The patient centred clinical method offers a constructive guide to management. The author considers that the best hope for sufferers is self management guided by a supportive and helpful health professional, preferably the patient’s own GP.

PMID: 14650782 [PubMed – in process]

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