What are the diagnostic criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)?

Updated: Aug 29, 2018
  • Author: Jefferson R Roberts, MD; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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A diagnosis of CFS requires the following three symptoms: [1]

  • A substantial reduction or impairment in the ability to engage in pre-illness levels of occupational, educational, social, or personal activities, that persists for more than 6 months and is accompanied by fatigue, which is often profound, is of new or definite onset (not lifelong), is not the result of ongoing excessive exertion, and is not substantially alleviated by rest
  • Postexertional malaise
  • Unrefreshing sleep

At least one of the following must also be present:

  • Cognitive impairment
  • Orthostatic intolerance

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