BMC Health Services Research, 02 June 2017.
Adult patients’ experiences of NHS specialist services for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS/ME): a qualitative study in England
Jessica Broughton, Sarah Harris, Lucy Beasant, Esther Crawley and Simon M Collin.
Few studies have explored patients’ experiences of treatment for CFS/ME. This study aims to fill this gap by capturing the perspective of patients who have been treated by NHS specialist CFS/ME services in England.
Semi-structured interviews were conducted during the period June–September 2014 with 16 adults who were completing treatment at one of three outpatient NHS specialist CFS/ME services. Interviews were analysed thematically using constant comparison techniques, with particular attention paid to contrasting views.
Three themes were identified: ‘Journey to specialist services’; ‘Things that help or hinder treatment’; and ‘Support systems’. Within these themes nine sub-themes were identified. A wide range of factors was evident in forming participants’ experiences, including personal characteristics such as perseverance and optimism, and service factors such as flexibility and positive, supportive relationships with clinicians. Participants described how specialist services played a unique role, which was related to the contested nature of the condition. Many participants had experienced a lack of validation and medical and social support before attending a specialist service. Patients’ experiences of life before referral, and the concerns that they expressed about being discharged, highlighted the hardship and obstacles which people living with CFS/ME continue to experience in our society.
The experiences of CFS/ME patients in our study showed that NHS specialist CFS/ME services played a vital role in patients’ journeys towards an improved quality of life. This improvement came about through a process which included validation of patients’ experiences, acceptance of change, practical advice and support, and therapeutic outcomes.
Journal of Translational Medicine, 07 June, 2017.
Examining clinical similarities between myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome and d-lactic acidosis: a systematic review
Amy Wallis, Michelle Ball, Sandra McKechnie, Henry Butt, Donald P. Lewis and Dorothy Bruck.
The pursuit for clarity in diagnostic and treatment pathways for the complex, chronic condition of myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) continues. This systematic review raises a novel question to explore possible overlapping aetiology in two distinct conditions. Similar neurocognitive symptoms and evidence of d-lactate producing bacteria in ME/CFS raise questions about shared mechanisms with the acute condition of d-lactic acidosis (d-la).
d-la case reports published between 1965 and March 2016 were reviewed for episodes describing both neurological symptoms and high d-lactate levels. Fifty-nine d-la episodes were included in the qualitative synthesis comparing d-la symptoms with ME/CFS diagnostic criteria. A narrative review of d-la mechanisms and relevance for ME/CFS was provided.
The majority of neurological disturbances reported in d-la episodes overlapped with ME/CFS symptoms. Of these, the most frequently reported d-la symptoms were motor disturbances that appear more prominent during severe presentations of ME/CFS. Both patient groups shared a history of gastrointestinal abnormalities and evidence of bacterial dysbiosis, although only preliminary evidence supported the role of lactate-producing bacteria in ME/CFS.
Interpretation of results are constrained by both the breadth of symptoms included in ME/CFS diagnostic criteria and the conservative methodology used for d-la symptom classification. Several pathophysiological mechanisms in ME/CFS were not examined.
Shared symptomatology and underlying microbiota–gut–brain interactions raise the possibility of a continuum of acute (d-la) versus chronic (ME/CFS) presentations related to d-lactate absorption. Measurement of d-lactate in ME/CFS is needed to effectively evaluate whether subclinical d-lactate levels affect neurological symptoms in this clinical population.