Comparison of Euroqol EQ-5D and SF-36 in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome


The objective of the study was to compare the Euroqol EQ-5D (Euroqol) and short-form 36 (SF-36) health questionnaires in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). One hundred and twenty-seven out-patients referred to a hospital-based infectious disease clinic with a diagnosis of CFS were contacted by post and asked to complete both questionnaires. Additional data were determined from hospital casenotes. Eighty-five patients returned correctly completed questionnaires. Euroqol health values and visual analogue scale (VAS) scores were strongly and significantly correlated with all dimensions of the SF-36, with the exception of physical limitation of role. SF-36 dimensions were in turn strongly and significantly correlated with each other, with the same exception. Patients reported a high degree of physical disability and a moderate degree of emotional or psychological ill-health. The Euroqol elements dealing with mobility and self-care referred to inappropriately severe degrees of disability for these patients with CFS. Similarly some dimensions in the SF-36 were oversensitive and did not discriminate between patients with moderate or severe disability. It was concluded that Euroqol scores correlated strongly with SF-36 scores and provided useful information about patients with CFS and that Euroqol would be a useful tool for the rapid assessment of health status in CFS. The current Euroqol instrument refers to inappropriately severe degrees of disability for patients with CFS and would need to be modified to be maximally useful in this situation.

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Myers, C., Wilks, D. Comparison of Euroqol EQ-5D and SF-36 in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. Qual Life Res 8, 9–16 (1999).

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  • Euroqol EQ-5D
  • SF-36
  • chronic fatigue syndrome.