Immunology

Nina Muirhead: Updated NICE ME/CFS Guidance

Published Online: October 29th 2021

It was a pleasure to speak with Dr Nina Muirhead (Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS trust, Amersham, UK) about the updated guidelines on the diagnosis and management of myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). The guidance has been designed to improve awareness and understanding to aid early diagnosis.

A list of the symptoms for suspecting ME/CFS is included below and the updated NICE guidance can be found here: NICE ME/CFS guideline outlines steps for better diagnosis and management

  • Symptoms for suspecting ME/CFS
  • Debilitating fatigue
  • Post-exertional malaise or symptom exacerbation, sometimes for hours days or weeks
  • Unrefreshing or disturbed sleep
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Orthostatic intolerance and autonomic dysfunction
  • Dizziness
  • Palpitations
  • Fainting
  • Nausea
  • Worsening symptoms on standing or sitting upright from a reclining position
  • Temperature hypersensitivity
  • Profuse sweating
  • Chills
  • Hot flushes
  • Feeling very cold
  • Neuromuscular symptoms, including twitching and myoclonic jerks
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Sore throats
  • Muscle aches
  • Intolerance to alcohol, or to certain foods, and chemicals
  • Heightened sensory sensitivities, including to light, noise, touch and smell
  • Pain, including pain on touch, myalgia
  • Headaches, eye pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Joint pain without acute redness, swelling or effusion

Questions:

  1. Could you tell us a little about myalgic encephalomyelitis/ chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) and the reasons behind the recent update of the NICE guidance? (0:26)
  2. What have been the failings of previous approaches to the diagnosis and management of people with ME/CFS? (0:51)
  3. What are the key take-home messages of the new guidance? (1:22)
  4. How will these recommendations impact clinical practice? (2:03)

Support: Interview and filming supported by Touch Medical Media. Interview conducted by Gina Furnival

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