Can we predict recovery in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)?

PURPOSE: To determine if selected demographic or clinical features

of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) are associated with


PATIENTS AND METHODS: A follow-up questionnaire was

mailed to 341 patients who had been ill on average for nine

years to ascertain “recovery” rate (defined as self-reported

recovery on a visual analog scale). Baseline demographic and

clinical features (functional status and psychological status)

recorded at the time of the initial (baseline) clinical visit

were analyzed for their association with recovery at the time

of follow-up.

RESULTS: Of the 177 patients who responded to

the follow-up questionnaire, only 21 (12%) reported

“recovery.” Patients with higher levels of physical and social

functioning and lower levels of anxiety and

obsessive-compulsiveness at baseline were more likely to

report recovery at follow-up (p < 0.05). No specific

demographic characteristics were associated with recovery.

CONCLUSION: These findings support previous research that

complete recovery from CFS is rare and that patients with less

severe illness at the initial clinic visit are more likely to

have a positive prognosis for recovery. However, considerable

overlap in illness severity was observed between the recovered

and nonrecovered groups, suggesting that accurate prediction

of recovery in individual CFS patients is not currently


Pheley AM, Melby D, Schenck C, Mandel J, Peterson PK

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