Health status in patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) & in general population & disease comparison groups

PURPOSE: To measure the functional status and well-being of

patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), and compare them

with those of a general population group and six disease

comparison groups.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: The subjects of the

study were patients with CFS (n = 223) from a CFS clinic, a

population-based control sample (n = 2,474), and disease

comparison groups with hypertension (n = 2,089), congestive

heart failure (n = 216), type II diabetes mellitus (n = 163),

acute myocardial infarction (n = 107), multiple sclerosis (n

= 25), and depression (n = 502). We measured functional

status and well-being using the Medical Outcomes Study

36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36), which is a

self-administered questionnaire in which lower scores are

indicative of greater impairment.

RESULTS: Patients with CFS

had far lower mean scores than the general population control

subjects on all eight SF-36 scales. They also scored

significantly lower than patients in all the disease

comparison groups other than depression on virtually all the

scales. When compared with patients with depression, they

scored significantly lower on all the scales except for scales

measuring mental health and role disability due to emotional

problems, on which they scored significantly higher. The two

SF-36 scales reflecting mental health were not correlated with

any of the symptoms of CFS except for irritability and


CONCLUSION: Patients with CFS had marked

impairment, in comparison with the general population and

disease comparison groups. Moreover, the degree and pattern

of impairment was different from that seen in patients with


MCM: Compared 223 CFS pts withe healthy controls and with pts

w other illnesses (hypertension, CHF, Type I diabetes

mellitus, acute MI, multiple sclerosis, and depression) using

the Medical Outcomes Study SF-36. CFS pts scored much lower

(more abnormal) than pts in all disease comparison groups

other than depression on virrually all scales… Pts w CFS had

marked impairment which differed from depression.

Komaroff AL, Fagioli LR, Doolittle TH, Gandek B, Gleit MA, Guerriero

RT, Kornish RJ 2nd, Ware NC, Ware JE Jr, Bates DW

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