Latest Internationally accepted criteria for diagnosis and management of ME 2012.
Resource: Curruthers, B & van de Sande, M '(2012) International Consensus Primer for Medical Practitioners' Developed by an International panel of ME experts who have collectively more than 500 years of ME clinical experience and worked with over 50,000 patients with ME.
The Canadian ME/CFS Clinical Case Definition and Guidelines for Medical Practitioners (Overview) provides a comprehensive breakdown of the symptoms, diagnosis and management of ME/CFS. While aimed at medical practitioners, it is also of great value to people who have ME/CFS, assisting with a greater understanding of the condition.
Diagnosis of ME/CFS
Diagnosis is based on:
- Physical examination;
- The type, pattern and severity of symptoms;
- The history and length of illness; and
- Laboratory and other tests.
A medical practitioner will carry out routine laboratory tests and, following assessment of the person's symptoms, case history, physical examination and his/her test results, may request a number of additional laboratory tests and investigative procedures, depending on the individual's specific illness profile.
Although there is no specific test available yet to diagnose ME/CFS, routine laboratory and other investigations are important to eliminate other diseases that have symptoms in common with ME/CFS. Abnormalities may be found in a number of non-routine tests and, in some circumstances, may be of diagnostic assistance. Some non-routine tests are showing promise as potential diagnostic tools.
A diagnosis of ME/CFS will involve a number of visits to the diagnosing practitioner over a period of time. The diagnosing practitioner is usually able to make the diagnosis, although in individual cases the practitioner may refer the person to a specialist.
For a positive diagnosis of ME/CFS to be made, symptoms need to correspond with a Case Definition of ME/CFS and to have been present for at least six months, although a diagnosis may be made after three for children. Excluding other illnesses is an important part of the diagnostic process.
It is not uncommon for people with ME/CFS to consult a number of doctors before receiving a diagnosis of ME/CFS because some practitioners are unfamiliar with ME/CFS. In these circumstances a clear diagnosis can be a relief for the person with ME/CFS as it removes the uncertainty and allows the person to focus on treatment and illness management.
For more information on the diagnostic procedure for ME/CFS, refer to the following pages of the ME International Consensus Primer 2012
- Clinical evaluation of ME/CFS
- Routine tests
- Non-routine tests for abnormalities in ME/CFS
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Did you know?
As many as 180,000 Australians are directly affected by ME/CFS
Research into ME/CFS is occuring across the globe. Follow the links below for research resources.
Support Organisations by State
ME/CFS Australia directs enquiries from members of the community about frontline support for people with ME/CFS to independently run state organisations.
Nutrition and ME/CFS: Download a PDF, available in the following languages: