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Assessment of fatigue in chronic disease: a bibliographic study of fatigue measurement scales.

Hjollund NH, Andersen JH, Bech P - Health Qual Life Outcomes (2007)

Bottom Line: The number of scales has also increased and the majority of scales were developed for specific diseases.There is need for measure instruments with different sizes and dimensionality, and due to ceiling and floor effects, the same scale may not be useful for patients with different severity of fatigue.There may be differences in characteristics of fatigue between diseases and generic measurement instruments may facilitate documentation of such differences, which may be of clinical importance.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Clinical Social Medicine, Institute of Public Health, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark. niels.hjoellund@stab.rm.dk

ABSTRACT
A large number of fatigue scales exist and there is no consensus on which fatigue measuring scales that are most appropriate for use in assessment of fatigue in different diseases. We aimed to describe the use of fatigue scales in studies of disease-related fatigue during the last three decades. We searched databases from 1975 to 2004 for original studies reporting on disease-related fatigue and extracted information on method used to assess fatigue, diseases under study and year of publication. A total of 2285 papers reported measures of fatigue in chronic non-acute diseases of which 80% were published during the last decade. We identified 252 different ways to measure fatigue, of which 150 were use only once. Multi-symptom scales (n = 156) were used in 670 studies, while 71 scales specifically designed to measure fatigue were applied in 416 studies. The majority of these studies used scales with a multidimensional approach to fatigue, and most studies used scales that were disease-specific or only applied to few different diseases. Research in disease-related fatigue has increased exponentially during the last three decades, even if we adjust for the general increase in publishing activity. The number of scales has also increased and the majority of scales were developed for specific diseases. There is need for measure instruments with different sizes and dimensionality, and due to ceiling and floor effects, the same scale may not be useful for patients with different severity of fatigue. However, since fatigue is an unspecific symptom there should not be need for adopting disease specific fatigue scales for each individual disease. There may be differences in characteristics of fatigue between diseases and generic measurement instruments may facilitate documentation of such differences, which may be of clinical importance.

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Studies of disease related fatigue by year of publication by method of fatigue assessment.
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Figure 1: Studies of disease related fatigue by year of publication by method of fatigue assessment.

Mentions: A total of 2285 papers reporting measures of fatigue in somatic and psychiatric diseases were published between 1975 and 2004. An exponential increase in number of fatigue studies was observed; thus 80% of the studies were published during the last ten years of the period (Fig 1). Ad hoc methods and simple one-item questions to measure acute side effects dominated until 1990 (Fig 1). From the beginning of the 80'ies, quality of life scales and other multi-symptom scales were introduced, while scales specifically designed to measure fatigue have mainly been in use the last decade (Fig 1). We identified no less than 252 different methods to assess fatigue of which 150 were used only once. Overall, the most frequent method was ad-hoc constructed questions or retrospective review of medical records, which was used in 669 studies (Table 1).


Assessment of fatigue in chronic disease: a bibliographic study of fatigue measurement scales.

Hjollund NH, Andersen JH, Bech P - Health Qual Life Outcomes (2007)

Studies of disease related fatigue by year of publication by method of fatigue assessment.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC1808447&req=5

Figure 1: Studies of disease related fatigue by year of publication by method of fatigue assessment.
Mentions: A total of 2285 papers reporting measures of fatigue in somatic and psychiatric diseases were published between 1975 and 2004. An exponential increase in number of fatigue studies was observed; thus 80% of the studies were published during the last ten years of the period (Fig 1). Ad hoc methods and simple one-item questions to measure acute side effects dominated until 1990 (Fig 1). From the beginning of the 80'ies, quality of life scales and other multi-symptom scales were introduced, while scales specifically designed to measure fatigue have mainly been in use the last decade (Fig 1). We identified no less than 252 different methods to assess fatigue of which 150 were used only once. Overall, the most frequent method was ad-hoc constructed questions or retrospective review of medical records, which was used in 669 studies (Table 1).

Bottom Line: The number of scales has also increased and the majority of scales were developed for specific diseases.There is need for measure instruments with different sizes and dimensionality, and due to ceiling and floor effects, the same scale may not be useful for patients with different severity of fatigue.There may be differences in characteristics of fatigue between diseases and generic measurement instruments may facilitate documentation of such differences, which may be of clinical importance.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Clinical Social Medicine, Institute of Public Health, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark. niels.hjoellund@stab.rm.dk

ABSTRACT
A large number of fatigue scales exist and there is no consensus on which fatigue measuring scales that are most appropriate for use in assessment of fatigue in different diseases. We aimed to describe the use of fatigue scales in studies of disease-related fatigue during the last three decades. We searched databases from 1975 to 2004 for original studies reporting on disease-related fatigue and extracted information on method used to assess fatigue, diseases under study and year of publication. A total of 2285 papers reported measures of fatigue in chronic non-acute diseases of which 80% were published during the last decade. We identified 252 different ways to measure fatigue, of which 150 were use only once. Multi-symptom scales (n = 156) were used in 670 studies, while 71 scales specifically designed to measure fatigue were applied in 416 studies. The majority of these studies used scales with a multidimensional approach to fatigue, and most studies used scales that were disease-specific or only applied to few different diseases. Research in disease-related fatigue has increased exponentially during the last three decades, even if we adjust for the general increase in publishing activity. The number of scales has also increased and the majority of scales were developed for specific diseases. There is need for measure instruments with different sizes and dimensionality, and due to ceiling and floor effects, the same scale may not be useful for patients with different severity of fatigue. However, since fatigue is an unspecific symptom there should not be need for adopting disease specific fatigue scales for each individual disease. There may be differences in characteristics of fatigue between diseases and generic measurement instruments may facilitate documentation of such differences, which may be of clinical importance.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus