Objective: To determine whether children with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) have a higher prevalence of joint hypermobility than gender-matched controls.
Study design: Matched case-control study comparing the Beighton joint hypermobility scores in 58 consecutive children with CFS (incident cases) with 58 otherwise healthy controls referred to a dermatology clinic for evaluation of common skin problems. A second group of 58 patients previously diagnosed with CFS (prevalent cases) was matched by gender to the incident cases to evaluate temporal changes in referral patterns.
Results: Of the 58 patients in each group, 71% were female. The median Beighton scores were higher in incident CFS cases than in healthy controls (4 vs 1, P <.001). More incident CFS cases had Beighton scores >/=4 (consistent with joint hypermobility), 60% versus 24%, P <.0001. Incident and prevalent CFS cases had similar Beighton scores. The odds ratio for hypermobility in all patients with CFS versus healthy controls was 3.5 (P <.001; 95% CI, 1.6-7.5).
Conclusions: Joint hypermobility is more common in patients with CFS than in otherwise healthy children with common skin disorders. The etiologic significance of the observed association remains to be defined.