Introduction: fatigue is a common and disabling symptom in multiple sclerosis (MS). In this study we evaluated if fatigue is associated with different demographic and clinical features of MS.
Material: A survey was performed on 507 consecutive patients affected by clinically definite MS referred to our centre between January 1 and December 31, 1993. During the examination patients were asked to answer a brief fatigue questionnaire. To evaluate the probability of the occurrence of fatigue in association with several covariant factors (age, sex, duration, disease form, disease severity, month of examination, functional sub-systems on the expanded disability status scale (EDSS), a logistic regression analysis was performed.
Results: we confirmed that fatigue is common in MS, recorded in 53% of patients. Patients affected by a more severe disability, by progressive MS, both primary and secondary, with an older age at examination, and assessed during spring, had a significantly higher risk of fatigue. Sex was not associated with the occurrence of fatigue. When the single items of EDSS were considered, we found that fatigue is also associated with the occurrence of cerebellar, sphincteric, pyramidal and sensitive signs, but not with brain stem, visual and cognitive impairment.
Conclusion: fatigue in MS is more frequent in association with specific clinical features.