Diagnostic Criteria for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

Centers for Disease Control Diagnostic Criteria

Clinically evaluated, unexplained, persistent, or relapsing fatigue that is:

  • Of new or definite onset
  • Not a result of ongoing exertion
  • Not alleviated by rest
  • Results in a substantial reduction in previous levels of occupational, social, or personal activity

Four or more of the following symptoms that persist or recur during 6 or more consecutive months of illness and that do not predate the fatigue:

  • Self-reported impairment of short-term memory or concentration
  • Sore throat
  • Tender lymph nodes
  • Muscle pain
  • Multijoint pain without swelling or redness
  • Headaches of a new type, pattern, or severity
  • Unrefreshing and/or interrupted sleep
  • Postexertion malaise (a feeling of general discomfort or uneasiness) lasting more than 24 hours

Exclusion criteria:

  • Active, unresolved or suspected disease that is likely to cause fatigue
  • Psychotic, melancholic, or bipolar depression (but not uncomplicated major depression)
  • Psychotic disorders
  • Dementia
  • Anorexia or bulimia nervosa
  • Alcohol or other substance misuse
  • Severe obesity (body mass index equal to or greater than 45)

Oxford Diagnostic Criteria

Severe, disabling fatigue of at least six months’ duration that:

  • affects both physical and mental functioning
  • was present for more than 50% of the time

Other symptoms, particularly myalgia and sleep and mood distrubance, may be present

Exclusion criteria

  • Active, unresolved, or suspected disease likely to cause fatigue
  • Psychotic, melancholic or bipolar depression (but not uncomplicated major depression)
  • Psychotic disorders
  • Dementia
  • Anorexia or bulimia nervosa
 
 

References:

1. Reid S, Chalder T, Cleare A, Hotopf M, Wessely S. Chronic fatigue syndrome. BMJ. 2000 Jan 29;320(7230):292-6. [Medline]

2. Fukuda K, Straus SE, Hickie I, Sharpe MC, Dobbins JG, Komaroff A. The chronic fatigue syndrome: a comprehensive approach to its definition and study. International Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Study Group. Ann Intern Med. 1994 Dec 15;121(12):953-9. [Medline]

 
Created: August 17, 2005