New Pediatric ME/CFS Primer is published

The long-awaited Pediatric ME/CFS Primer, written by an international group of pediatric ME/CFS expert clinicians, is now published and freely available.

Lead author Peter Rowe states, “Three years ago, Ken Friedman, Alan Gurwitt, and Rosemary Underhill invited an international group of experienced ME/CFS clinicians to write a comprehensive guide to the diagnosis and management of ME/CFS in adolescents and young adults. The IACFSME had published a guide for adults, but there was no similar publication to help clinicians manage the unique aspects of ME/CFS in children and adolescents.”

Not only does the Primer contain a wealth of practical clinical advice, it also includes facts sheets and sections on working with schools and a sample physician’s letter to the school, authored by Faith Newton, Ed. D. It is a valuable guide for health care providers, parents and families, and school personnel.

View the Pediatric Primer online

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REVIEW ARTICLE

Front. Pediatr., 19 June 2017 | https://doi.org/10.3389/fped.2017.00121

"Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Diagnosis and Management in Young People: A Primer"

Peter C. Rowe, Rosemary A. Underhill, Kenneth J. Friedman, Alan Gurwitt, Marvin S. Medow, Malcolm S. Schwartz, Nigel Speight, Julian M. Stewart, Rosamund Vallings and Katherine S. Rowe

Faith Newton Ed.D., Department of Education, Delaware State University, Dover, DE, USA contributed Section “The School System” and Appendix D.
Evan Spivak, DDS, Department of Pediatric Dentistry, Rutgers School of Dental Medicine, Newark, NJ, USA contributed Section “Oral and Dental issues.”
Appendix F is based upon “Considerations Prior to Surgery for Adult ME/CFS Patients” by Dr. Charles W Lapp MD, Director, Hunter-Hopkins Center, Charlotte, NC, USA, with permission.

Abstract

Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is a complex disease that affects children and adolescents as well as adults. The etiology has not been established. While many pediatricians and other health-care providers are aware of ME/CFS, they often lack essential knowledge that is necessary for diagnosis and treatment. Many young patients experience symptoms for years before receiving a diagnosis. This primer, written by the International Writing Group for Pediatric ME/CFS, provides information necessary to understand, diagnose, and manage the symptoms of ME/CFS in children and adolescents. ME/CFS is characterized by overwhelming fatigue with a substantial loss of physical and mental stamina. Cardinal features are malaise and a worsening of symptoms following minimal physical or mental exertion. These post-exertional symptoms can persist for hours, days, or weeks and are not relieved by rest or sleep. Other symptoms include cognitive problems, unrefreshing or disturbed sleep, generalized or localized pain, lightheadedness, and additional symptoms in multiple organ systems. While some young patients can attend school, on a full or part-time basis, many others are wheelchair dependent, housebound, or bedbound. Prevalence estimates for pediatric ME/CFS vary from 0.1 to 0.5%. Because there is no diagnostic test for ME/CFS, diagnosis is purely clinical, based on the history and the exclusion of other fatiguing illnesses by physical examination and medical testing. Co-existing medical conditions including orthostatic intolerance (OI) are common. Successful management is based on determining the optimum balance of rest and activity to help prevent post-exertional symptom worsening. Medications are helpful to treat pain, insomnia, OI and other symptoms. The published literature on ME/CFS and specifically that describing the diagnosis and management of pediatric ME/CFS is very limited. Where published studies are lacking, recommendations are based on the clinical observations and practices of the authors.

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