Assessment of functional impairment by cardiopulmonary exercise testing in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome.


J. Mark Van Ness: 0000-0001-5902-8735

Document Type

Conference Presentation


Health, Exercise, and Sport Sciences Department

Conference Title

IACFS/ME Annual Meeting


International Association of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome


Bloomington, MN

Date of Presentation



Functional impairment in a population of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) was determined by exercise testing. The criteria established by Weber and Janicki (1) were employed because impairment levels are based on maximal oxygen consumption. Oxygen consumption was obtained by cardiopulmonary exercise testing and was used to classify subjects according to the severity of impairment. All the subjects in this study met the CDC case definition (2) for CFS. All patients underwent at least two maximal graded exercise tests in which expired air was collected for assessment of V02max. Data are included for eighty-seven CFS patients, the highest V02 was used for determining impairment. Although all patients met the CDC case definition for CFS, only 35 (40%) would be classified as having greater than “Mild” functional impairment. The highest V02 of any of the patients in this study was 29.5 ml/kg/min, very close to what normative data predicts to be the average maximal value for the entire group. Without a sedentary control group it is unclear if the low V02 in this population is due to the pathology of CFS or results from the inactivity that accompanies the disease. However, use of maximal V02 during exercise can clearly discriminate between levels of functional impairment and may be efficacious for diagnosis of CFS. Additionally, in cases where cardiopulmonary analysis is unavailable, exercise duration on a standardized test may also be employed.

This document is currently not available here.