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Article
August 19, 1988

Chronic Fatigue in Primary CarePrevalence, Patient Characteristics, and Outcome

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Medicine (Drs Kroenke and Wood and Ms Meier) and Psychology (Dr Powell), Brooke Army Medical Center, and Health Care Studies and Clinical Investigation Activity, Health Services Command (Dr Magelsdorff), Fort Sam Houston, Tex.

From the Departments of Medicine (Drs Kroenke and Wood and Ms Meier) and Psychology (Dr Powell), Brooke Army Medical Center, and Health Care Studies and Clinical Investigation Activity, Health Services Command (Dr Magelsdorff), Fort Sam Houston, Tex.

JAMA. 1988;260(7):929-934. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03410070057028
Abstract

Although fatigue is one of the most common complaints in ambulatory care, research has been minimal. Of the 1159 consecutive patients surveyed in two adult primary-care clinics, 276 (24%) indicated that fatigue was a major problem. Fatigue was more prevalent in women than in men (28% vs 19%). Extensive clinical, laboratory, psychometric, and functional data were gathered for 102 fatigued patients and 26 controls. Laboratory testing was not useful in detecting unsuspected medical conditions or in determining the cause of fatigue. Depression or somatic anxiety or both were suggested by screening psychometric instruments in 82 fatigued patients (80%) compared with three controls (12%). Global dysfunction was marked, as reported by patients on the Sickness Impact Profile. The mean score on the Sickness Impact Profile of 11.3 for fatigued patients is similar to that reported for patients with major medical illnesses. After one year of follow-up, only 29 fatigued patients (28%) had improved. The high prevalence, persistence, and functional consequences of fatigue mandate a search for effective therapy.

(JAMA 1988;260:929-934)

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