Abstract: Fatigue in neuromuscular disease

Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2004 Jul 3;148(27):1336-41. [Article in Dutch] Van Engelen BG, Kalkman JS, Schillings ML, Van Der Werf SP, Bleijenberg G, Zwarts MJ. Neuromusculair Centrum Nijmegen, Instituut voor Neurologie, Universitair Medisch Centrum St Radboud, Postbus 9101, 6500 HB Nijmegen.

Chronic fatigue is a symptom of diseases such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's and cerebrovascular disease. Fatigue can also be present in people with no demonstrable somatic disease. If certain criteria are met, chronic-fatigue syndrome may be diagnosed in these cases. Fatigue is a multi-dimensional concept with physiological and psychological dimensions. The 'Short Fatigue Questionnaire' consisting of 4 questions is a tool to measure fatigue with a high degree of reliability and validity.

Within the group of neuromuscular disorders, fatigue has been reported by patients with post-polio syndrome, myasthenia gravis, and Guillain-Barre syndrome. The percentage of neuromuscular patients suffering from severe fatigue (64%) is comparable with that of patients with multiple sclerosis, a disease in which fatigue is an acknowledged symptom.

Now that reliable psychological and clinical neurophysiological techniques are available, a multidisciplinary approach to fatigue in patients with well-defined neuromuscular disorders may contribute towards the elucidation of the pathophysiological mechanisms of chronic fatigue, with the ultimate goal being to develop methods of treatment for fatigue in neuromuscular patients. PMID: 15283024 [PubMed – in process]

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