Associations between autonomic and orthostatic self-report and physician ratings of Orthostatic Intolerance in youth, by Katlin R Schultz, Ben Z Katz, Neil R Bockian, Leonard A Jason in Clinical Therapeutics 2019
There is no known biological marker or physical assessment to diagnose chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), leaving physicians to heavily rely on self-report measures regarding the symptoms associated with CFS. Common symptoms of CFS include difficulty sleeping, joint pain, headaches, sore throat, cognitive dysfunction, physical exhaustion, dizziness, and nausea.
Because of the overlap among CFS symptoms and autonomic functioning, we examined the association between 2 self-report measures of orthostatic and autonomic symptoms and a physician’s report of autonomic functioning (measures of changes in blood pressure and pulse) to further understand the association among autonomic functioning within individuals with symptoms of CFS.
With data from an ongoing study, we used independent t tests and Pearson correlation tests to assess the association among the orthostatic domain from the DePaul Symptom Questionnaire, Autonomic Symptom Checklist composite scores, and the physician’s assessment of orthostatic intolerance obtained from a sample of 191 participants, 42 who were healthy controls.
No significant demographic differences were found between the CFS-like group and the healthy controls. Results indicate a significant correlation between orthostatic and autonomic functioning (r = 0.58) and a correlation with a low effect size among autonomic functioning and physician measures of orthostatic functioning (r = −0.01 to 0.29).
However, fewer correlations were found between self-reported symptoms of orthostatic functioning and the physician’s measures of orthostatic functioning.
These results suggest that although orthostatic dysfunction is reported in children and adolescents with CFS-like symptoms, the physical measures of autonomic functioning in this study were unable to detect these symptoms.