Cardiac Dimensions and Function Are Not Altered among Females with the Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Healthcare (Basel). 2020 Oct 16;8(4):406. doi: 10.3390/healthcare8040406.


Background: Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is a debilitating condition associated with several negative health outcomes. A hallmark of ME/CFS is decreased exercise capacity and often profound exercise intolerance. The causes of ME/CSF and its related symptoms are unknown, but there are indications of a dysregulated metabolism with impaired glycolytic vs oxidative energy balance. In line with this, we recently demonstrated abnormal lactate accumulation among ME/CFS patients compared with healthy controls after exercise testing. Here we examined if cardiac dimensions and function were altered in ME/CFS, as this could lead to increased lactate production. Methods: We studied 16 female ME/CFS patients and 10 healthy controls with supine transthoracic echocardiography, and we assessed cardiac dimensions and function by conventional echocardiographic and Doppler analysis as well as novel tissue Doppler and strain variables. Results: A detailed analyses of key variables of cardiac dimensions and cardiac function revealed no significant differences between the two study groups. Conclusion: In this cohort of well-described ME/CFS patients, we found no significant differences in echocardiographic variables characterizing cardiac dimensions and function compared with healthy controls.

Keywords: cardiac function; echocardiography; myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome.