Metabolic & cardiovascular effects of a progressive exercise test in patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

PURPOSE: To evaluate the aerobic power (as maximum volume of
oxygen consumed [VO2 max]) of women with chronic fatigue
syndrome (CFS).

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Twenty-one women with
CFS and 22 sedentary healthy controls (CON) were studied at
the CFS Cooperative Research Center Exercise Laboratory at the
VA Medical Center, East Orange, New Jersey. Performance was
measured on an incremental treadmill protocol walking to
exhaustion. Expired gases were analyzed by a metabolic system,
heart rate was recorded continuously, and ratings of perceived
exertion (RPE) were taken at each workload. The groups were
divided into those who achieved VO2 max (CFS-MAX and CON-MAX)
and those who stopped at a submaximal level (CFS-NOMAX and
CON-NOMAX) by using standard criteria.

RESULTS: Seventeen CON
and 10 CFS subjects achieved VO2 max. The VO2 max (mL/kg/min)
of the CFS-MAX (28.1 +/- 5.1) was lower than that of the
CON-MAX (32.1 +/- 4.3, P = 0.05). The CFS-MAX achieved 98 +/-
11% of predicted VO2 max. The CFS group had a higher RPE at
the same absolute workloads as controls (P < 0.01) but not the
same relative workloads.

CONCLUSION: Compared with normal
controls, women with CFS have an aerobic power indicating a
low normal fitness level with no indication of cardiopulmonary
abnormality. Our CFS group could withstand a maximal treadmill
exercise test without a major exacerbation in either fatigue
or other symptoms of their illness.

MCM: Studied 21 female CFS pts and 22 sedentary controls…
"Compared with normal controls, women with CFS have an aerobic
power indicating a low normal fitness level with no indication
of cardiopulmonary abnormality. Our CFS group could withstand
a maximal treadmill exercise test without a major exacerbation
in either fatigue or other symptoms of their illness."

Sisto SA, LaManca J, Cordero DL, Bergen MT, Ellis SP, Boda WL
Natelson BH, Tapp WN, Drastal S,

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