The Importance of Orthostatic Intolerance in the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

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Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or myalgic encephalomyelitis is a clinically defined syndrome characterized by persistent or relapsing debilitating fatigue for longer than 6 months in the absence of any definable medical diagnosis. The cause of this syndrome is unknown. Symptoms of orthostatic intolerance, such as disabling fatigue, dizziness, diminished concentration, tremulousness, and nausea, are often found in patients with CFS. In this review, we critically evaluate the relationship between orthostatic intolerance and CFS. Particular emphasis is placed on clinical diagnosis, laboratory testing, pathophysiology, and therapeutic management. It is hoped that this review will provide a stimulus for further study of this complex and disabling condition.

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