Physical and Functional Impact of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis in Childhood

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    OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to compare self-reported and parent-reported quality of life for a group of pediatric patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)/myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) and age-and gender-matched healthy control children, to determine the extent of functional and physical impairment.

    METHODS: The Child Health Questionnaire was completed by 25 children with CFS/ME, who were recruited throughout the United Kingdom, and by 23 age-, gender-, and Tanner scale-matched control children. In addition, patients were asked questions about the background to their illness (ie, precipitating factors), the status of their illness, and school attendance.

    RESULTS: The median illness duration for patients was 3 years. Sixty-eight percent of the children said that their illness developed quickly, and the illness had an infectious onset for 88%. Only 1 child (4%) attended school full-time, whereas 12 (48%) attended school part-time and 8 (32%) received home tuition only. Children with CFS/ME scored significantly lower for 10 of 14 Child Health Questionnaire concepts; the lowest scores were observed for global health (scores of 21.4 and 84.1 for patients and control subjects, respectively; P < .0001) and role/social limitations attributable to physical health problems (scores of 24.9 and 100, respectively; P < .0001). Quality of life for the children with CFS/ME compared unfavorably with previously published results for pediatric patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus or asthma.

    CONCLUSION: The quality of life of children with CFS/ME was profoundly reduced, compared with that of their healthy counterparts. Pediatrics 2010; 125: e1324-e1330

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)E1324-E1330
    Number of pages7
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010


    • chronic fatigue syndrome
    • myalgic encephalomyelitis
    • quality of life
    • Child Health Questionnaire


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