Source Clinic of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine and Aging, University of Chieti, Italy.
Severe fatigue and a significantly reduced health-related quality of life (HRQoL) have been described in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) in comparison with patients affected by chronic hepatitis C (CHC) and other chronic medical conditions. We examined 39 CFS and 49 CHC patients to explore whether fatigue and a poor HRQoL represent a greater medical and social problem in CFS than in CHC. The severity of fatigue and the HRQoL were assessed using the Fatigue Impact Scale (FIS) and the Health Status Questionnaire Short Form-36 (SF-36), respectively. The statistical analysis showed both a higher score of fatigue and a lower HRQoL in CFS than in CHC patients. Furthermore, in CHC patients the FIS evaluation showed a significantly reduced score of the psychosocial domain in comparison with the other domains. Multivariate linear regression analysis revealed female gender as the most important positive variable in chronic hepatitis C patients for total score of FIS. In conclusion, CFS was associated with a severe and disabling fatigue and an impaired HRQOL. In particular, both fatigue and all aspects of HRQOL perceived by CFS patients were significantly impaired compared to CHC patients. Consequently, management of fatigue should be considered a priority in order to improve HRQOL in CFS patients. In CHC patients the impact of fatigue on HRQoL was less significant than in CFS patients, even though the FIS evaluation showed a significant impairment of the psychosocial domain.