Diagnosis of Fibromyalgia Syndrome—A Comparison of Association of the Medical Scientific Societies in Germany, Survey, and American College of Rheumatology Criteria

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The survey and the Association of the Medical Scientific Societies in Germany (AWMF) criteria had been developed to overcome problems associated with tender point criterion of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) (lacking validation for clinical diagnosis, inconsistent use by rheumatologists, and nonrheumatologists) for the clinical diagnosis of fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). We compared the concordance between these 3 criteria.


Consecutive patients of different clinical settings referred for the evaluation of chronic widespread pain or management of established FMS diagnosis were assessed by medical history, a complete physical examination including tender points, and questionnaires [self-constructed symptoms questionnaire, regional pain scale (RPS), Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ 9 and 15)]. FMS according to AWMF-criteria was diagnosed by the history of widespread pain (axial and all 4 extremities), the symptoms sleep disturbances, fatigue, and feeling of swelling or stiffness of the hands or feet or face (Numeric rating scale ≥1/10 each symptom) and the exclusion of somatic diseases sufficiently explaining the symptoms. FMS according to survey criteria was diagnosed by regional pain scale score ≥8 and fatigue score ≥6/10 on a visual analogue scale.


Out of 310 patients, 292 could be analysed. AWMF and ACR were concordant in 86.6%, AWMF and survey criteria were concordant in 78.8% and survey and ACR-criteria were concordant in 79.5% of the cases.


AWMF, survey, and ACR criteria were moderately concordant. As AWMF and survey criteria do not require tender point examination, these criteria can be used by nonrheumatologists for the clinical diagnosis of FMS.

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