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.
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.
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.
The quality of life of children with CFS/ME was profoundly reduced, compared with that of their healthy counterparts.