Clinical assessment of the physical activity pattern of chronic fatigue syndrome patients: a validation of three methods.
SourceHealth and Quality of Life Outcomes, 7, (2009), pp. 29
Article / Letter to editor
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Health and Quality of Life Outcomes
SubjectNCEBP 10: Human Movement & Fatigue; NCEBP 8: Psychological determinants of chronic illness; NCMLS 1: Infection and autoimmunity; ONCOL 4: Quality of Care; NCEBP 8: Psychological determinants of chronic illness
BACKGROUND: Effective treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) with cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) relies on a correct classification of so called 'fluctuating active' versus 'passive' patients. For successful treatment with CBT is it especially important to recognise the passive patients and give them a tailored treatment protocol. In the present study it was evaluated whether CFS patient's physical activity pattern can be assessed most accurately with the 'Activity Pattern Interview' (API), the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) or the CFS-Activity Questionnaire (CFS-AQ). METHODS: The three instruments were validated compared to actometers. Actometers are until now the best and most objective instrument to measure physical activity, but they are too expensive and time consuming for most clinical practice settings. In total 226 CFS patients enrolled for CBT therapy answered the API at intake and filled in the two questionnaires. Directly after intake they wore the actometer for two weeks. Based on receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves the validity of the three methods were assessed and compared. RESULTS: Both the API and the two questionnaires had an acceptable validity (0.64 to 0.71). None of the three instruments was significantly better than the others. The proportion of false predictions was rather high for all three instrument. The IPAQ had the highest proportion of correct passive predictions (sensitivity 70.1%). CONCLUSION: The validity of all three instruments appeared to be fair, and all showed rather high proportions of false classifications. Hence in fact none of the tested instruments could really be called satisfactory. Because the IPAQ showed to be the best in correctly predicting 'passive' CFS patients, which is most essentially related to treatment results, it was concluded that the IPAQ is the preferable alternative for an actometer when treating CFS patients in clinical practice.
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