Diagnostic Criteria for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS)

Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is a disease characterized by chronic, profound, disabling, and unexplained fatigue.

Diagnosis requires that the patient have the following three symptoms:

  1. A substantial reduction or impairment in the ability to engage in pre-illness levels of occupational, educational, social, or personal activities, that persists for more than 6 months and is accompanied by fatigue, which is often profound, is of new or definite onset (not lifelong), is not the result of ongoing excessive exertion, and is not substantially alleviated by rest, and
  2. post-exertional malaise*
  3. Unrefreshing sleep*;

At least one of the two following manifestations is also required:

  1. Cognitive impairment*
  2. Orthostatic intolerance

*Frequency and severity of symptoms should be assessed. The diagnosis of ME/CFS should be questioned if patients do not have these symptoms at least half the time with moderate, substantial, or severe intensity.”

 

References:

  1. Bested AC, Marshall LM. Review of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: an evidence-based approach to diagnosis and management by clinicians. Rev Environ Health. 2015;30(4):223–249. [Medline]
  2. Sotzny F, Blanco J, Capelli E, et al. Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – Evidence for an autoimmune disease. Autoimmun Rev. 2018;17(6):601–609. [Medline]
  3. Beyond Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Redefining an Illness. Committee on the Diagnostic Criteria for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome; Board on the Health of Select Populations; Institute of Medicine. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2015 Feb 10.

Created Jan 13, 2020.