A Literature Review of GP Knowledge and Understanding of ME/CFS: A Report from the Socioeconomic Working Group of the European Network on ME/CFS (EUROMENE)

Derek F. H. Pheby (Coresponding Author), Diana Araja, Uldis Berkis, Elenka Brenna, John Cullinan, Jean-Dominique de Korwin, Lara Gitto, Dyfrig A Hughes, Rachael M Hunter, Dominic Trepel, Xia Wang-Steverding

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

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Abstract

Background and Objectives: The socioeconomic working group of the European myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) Research Network (EUROMENE) has con-ducted a review of the literature pertaining to GPs’ knowledge and understanding of ME/CFS; Materials and Methods: A MEDLINE search was carried out. The papers identified were reviewed following the synthesis without meta-analysis (SWiM) methodology, and were classified according to the focus of the enquiry (patients, GPs, database and medical record studies, evaluation of a training programme, and overview papers), and whether they were quantitative or qualitative in nature; Results: Thirty-three papers were identified in the MEDLINE search. The quantitative surveys of GPs demonstrated that a third to a half of all GPs did not accept ME/CFS as a genuine clinical entity and, even when they did, they lacked confidence in diagnosing or managing it. It should be noted, though, that these papers were mostly from the United Kingdom. Patient surveys indicated that a similar proportion of patients was dissatisfied with the primary medical care they had received. These findings were consistent with the findings of the qualitative studies that were examined, and have changed little over several decades; Conclusions: Disbelief and lack of knowledge and understanding of ME/CFS among GPs is widespread, and the resultant diagnostic delays constitute a risk factor for severe and prolonged disease. Failure to diagnose ME/CFS renders problematic attempts to determine its prevalence, and hence its economic impact.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationME/CFS
Subtitle of host publicationCauses, Clinical Features and Diagnosis
EditorsDerek F.H. Pheby, Kenneth J. Friedman, Modra Murovska, Pawel Zalewski
Place of PublicationBasel
PublisherMDPI
Pages21-37
VolumeSpecial Issue Published in Medicina
ISBN (Print)978-3-0365-2438-2, 978-3-0365-2439-9
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords*

  • ME/CFS

Field of Science*

  • 3.2 Clinical medicine
  • 3.3 Health sciences

Publication Type*

  • 3.2. Articles or chapters in other proceedings other than those included in 3.1., with an ISBN or ISSN code

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