Investigation of suspected chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalopathy

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Investigation of suspected chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalopathy

Isn't it myalgic encephalomyelitis?

BACKGROUND Chronic fatigue is a frequently occurring problem in both the primary and specialist health services. The Department of Neurology at Haukeland University Hospital has established a standard assessment for patients referred with suspected CFS/ME. This study reports diagnoses and findings upon assessment, and considers the benefit of supplementary examinations.
MATERIAL AND METHOD Diagnoses and findings from examinations of 365 patients assessed for suspected CFS/ME are retrospectively reported.
RESULTS A total of 48 patients (13.2 %) were diagnosed with CFS/ME, while a further 18 patients (4.9 %) were diagnosed with post-infectious fatigue. Mental and behavioural disorders were diagnosed in 169 patients (46.3 %), and these represented by far the largest group. Serious, but unrecognised somatic illness was discovered in two patients, while changes of uncertain significance were identified by MRI and lumbar puncture in a few patients.
INTERPRETATION Fatigue is a frequently occurring symptom in the population. Thorough somatic and psychiatric investigation is necessary before referral to the specialist health services. Mental disorders and reactions to life crises are common and important differential diagnoses for CFS/ME. Long waiting times in the specialist health services may result in delayed diagnosis for these patients.

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