Abstract: Orthostatic instability in a population-based study of chronic fatigue syndrome

Am J Med. 2005 Dec;118(12):1415.

Jones JF, Nicholson A, Nisenbaum R, Papanicolaou DA, Solomon L, Boneva R, Heim C, Reeves WC.

Division of Viral and Rickettsial Diseases, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Ga 30333, USA. jaj9@cdc.gov

PURPOSE: Autonomic nervous system dysfunction has been suggested as involved in the pathophysiology of chronic fatigue syndrome. This population-based case control study addressed the potential association between orthostatic instability (one sign of dysautonomia) and chronic fatigue syndrome.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Fifty-eight subjects who fulfilled criteria of the 1994 chronic fatigue syndrome research case definition and 55 healthy controls participated in a 2-day inpatient evaluation. Subjects had been identified during a 4-year population-based chronic fatigue syndrome surveillance study in Wichita, Kan. The present study evaluated subjects’ current medical and psychiatric status, reviewed past medical/psychiatric history and medication use, used a stand-up test to screen for orthostatic instability, and conducted a head-up tilt table test to diagnose orthostatic instability.

RESULTS: No one manifested orthostatic instability in the stand-up test. The head-up tilt test elicited orthostatic instability in 30% of eligible chronic fatigue syndrome subjects (all with postural orthostatic tachycardia) and 48% of controls (50% with neurally mediated hypotension); intolerance was present in only nonfatigued (n=7) subjects. Neither fatigue nor illness severity were associated with outcome.

CONCLUSIONS: Orthostatic instability was similar in persons with chronic fatigue syndrome and nonfatigued controls subjects recruited from the general Wichita population. Delayed responses to head-up tilt tests were common and may reflect hydration status. These findings suggest reappraisal of primary dysautonomia as a factor in the pathogenesis of chronic fatigue syndrome.

PMID: 16378795 [PubMed – in process]

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