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Metabolic and cardiovascular effects of a progressive exercise test in patients with CFS (1996)

Tom Kindlon

Senior Member
Metabolic and cardiovascular effects of a progressive exercise test in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome.

Am J Med. 1996 Jun;100(6):634-40.

Sisto SA, LaManca J, Cordero DL, Bergen MT, Ellis SP, Drastal S, Boda WL, Tapp WN, Natelson BH.


Department of Neurosciences, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-New Jersey Medical School, Newark, USA.



To evaluate the aerobic power (as maximum volume of oxygen consumed [VO2 max]) of women with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).


Twenty-one women with CFS and 22 sedentary healthy controls (CON) were studied at the CFS Cooperative Research Center Exercise Laboratory at the VA Medical Center, East Orange, New Jersey.

Performance was measured on an incremental treadmill protocol walking to exhaustion.

Expired gases were analyzed by a metabolic system, heart rate was recorded continuously, and ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) were taken at each workload.

The groups were divided into those who achieved VO2 max (CFS-MAX and CON-MAX) and those who stopped at a submaximal level (CFS-NOMAX and CON-NOMAX) by using standard criteria.


Seventeen CON and 10 CFS subjects achieved VO2 max.

The VO2 max (mL/kg/min) of the CFS-MAX (28.1 +/- 5.1) was lower than that of the CON-MAX (32.1 +/- 4.3, P = 0.05).

The CFS-MAX achieved 98 +/- 11% of predicted VO2 max.

The CFS group had a higher RPE at the same absolute workloads as controls (P < 0.01) but not the same relative workloads.


Compared with normal controls, women with CFS have an aerobic power indicating a low normal fitness level with no indication of cardiopulmonary abnormality.

Our CFS group could withstand a maximal treadmill exercise test without a major exacerbation in either fatigue or other symptoms of their illness.

* I gave each sentence its own paragraph

Tom Kindlon

Senior Member
This is only a single exercise test, so it's less interesting to me.

I can't copy and paste from the paper so just going to concentrate on the effect on symptoms:

Qualitative Measures:

[They used three]

The response rate for returning the POMS following the treadmill for the CFS and CON (controls) groups was 90% (n=19) and 73% (n=16), respectively. The POMS five-point response scale phrases are "not all all," "a little," "moderately," "quite a bit," and "extremely." Four days after the test, vigor scores on the POMS were significantly increased for the CON (p=0.03) and significantly decreased for the CFS group (p=0.01); although a similar increase in magnitude in the POMS fatigue scores was seen, it was not significantly significant.


The five point severity scale rating of fatigue increased significantly for the CFS group (p=0.002) following the max test, and remained elevated for the next four days. Controls showed no increase in fatigue.