More Evidence That FM and ME/CFS Are Different Illnesses

Karen Lee Richards Health Guide
  • Although some medical professionals still insist fibromyalgia and myalgic encephalopathy/chronic fatigue syndrome are merely variations of the same illness, evidence that they are actually two very different illnesses is beginning to mount.  Last year I reported on a study that revealed different genetic profiles for FM and ME/CFS.  Now a new study recently published in the European Journal of Internal Medicine has identified another significant difference between the two disorders. 

    Method:  This new study looked at electrocardiographic QT intervals and cardiovascular reactivity in both FM and ME/CFS patients.  The QT interval is a measure of the time between the start of the Q wave and the end of the T wave in the heart's electrical cycle.  It is determined by doing an EKG.  To determine cardiovascular reactivity, researchers assessed the subjects’ blood pressure and heart rate changes.  The patients were evaluated with a 10-minute test while lying flat on their back and a 30-minute test on a tilt table with their heads up.

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    Results: 
    ME/CFS patients could be identified with 87% accuracy when lying flat and with 91% accuracy on the tilt table.  The cardiovascular reactivity scores were reported as –3.52 for FM patients and +3.21 for ME/CFS patients. 

    Conclusion:  A relatively short QT interval and a positive cardiovascular reactivity score characterize ME/CFS patients and distinguish them from FM patients.  These data may support the contention that FM and ME/CFS are separate disorders.

Published On: June 02, 2008