OBJECTIVE:

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.

METHODS:

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.

RESULTS:

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.

CONCLUSION:

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

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