Pediatric and adult patients with ME/CFS following COVID-19: A structured approach to diagnosis using the Munich Berlin Symptom Questionnaire (MBSQ)

Laura Carlotta Peo, Katharina Wiehler, Johannes Paulick, Katrin Gerrer, Ariane Leone, Anja Viereck, Matthias Haegele, Silvia Stojanov, Cordula Warlitz, Silvia Augustin, Martin Alberer, Daniel B.R. Hattesohl, Laura Froehlich, Carmen Scheibenbogen, Leonard A. Jason, Lorenz L. Mihatsch, Rafael Pricoco, Uta Behrends

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Abstract: A subset of patients with post-COVID-19 condition (PCC) fulfill the clinical criteria of myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). To establish the diagnosis of ME/CFS for clinical and research purposes, comprehensive scores have to be evaluated. We developed the Munich Berlin Symptom Questionnaires (MBSQs) and supplementary scoring sheets (SSSs) to allow for a rapid evaluation of common ME/CFS case definitions. The MBSQs were applied to young patients with chronic fatigue and post-exertional malaise (PEM) who presented to the MRI Chronic Fatigue Center for Young People (MCFC). Trials were retrospectively registered (NCT05778006, NCT05638724). Using the MBSQs and SSSs, we report on ten patients aged 11 to 25 years diagnosed with ME/CFS after asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection or mild to moderate COVID-19. Results from their MBSQs and from well-established patient-reported outcome measures indicated severe impairments of daily activities and health-related quality of life. Conclusions: ME/CFS can follow SARS-CoV-2 infection in patients younger than 18 years, rendering structured diagnostic approaches most relevant for pediatric PCC clinics. The MBSQs and SSSs represent novel diagnostic tools that can facilitate the diagnosis of ME/CFS in children, adolescents, and adults with PCC and other post-infection or post-vaccination syndromes. What is Known: • ME/CFS is a debilitating disease with increasing prevalence due to COVID-19. For diagnosis, a differential diagnostic workup is required, including the evaluation of clinical ME/CFS criteria. • ME/CFS after COVID-19 has been reported in adults but not in pediatric patients younger than 19 years. What is New: • We present the novel Munich Berlin Symptom Questionnaires (MBSQs) as diagnostic tools to assess common ME/CFS case definitions in pediatric and adult patients with post-COVID-19 condition and beyond. • Using the MBSQs, we diagnosed ten patients aged 11 to 25 years with ME/CFS after asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection or mild to moderate COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Pediatrics
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2023
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Children
  • ME/CFS
  • Post-COVID
  • Post-exertional malaise
  • SARS-CoV-2

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