Managing Fatigue in the Syncope Unit

Julia L. Newton


Europace. 2012;14(12):1696-1699. 

In This Article

Defining and Measuring Fatigue

Fatigue is described as a symptom where individuals feel exhausted, tired or 'used up'. Frequently, sceptics will comment 'well we're all tired sometime' or 'no-one can be as tired as me'. But fatigue becomes pathological when the affected individual is unable to function on a daily basis, or their symptoms impact upon their ability to live their life.

There have been a number of ways of measuring fatigue in patient populations. Historically, all-or-nothing criteria have been used which significantly underestimate the prevalence of fatigue. The use of visual analogue scales has more accurately determined the prevalence of fatigue. However, for both clinical and research purposes the utilization of specific generic and disease-specific measures of fatigue allow quantification of fatigue and study of its impact. One measure that has been used frequently in chronic disease settings has been the fatigue impact scale.[9] This 40-item questionnaire allows patients to grade their fatigue, and how it impacts upon them, over 40 questions which are then scored 1–4, giving a total score between 40 and 160.