Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) may be linked to reduced heart activity - but researchers aren't sure if heart function causes CFS, or if it's the other way round.
But in a new study, led by Arnold Peckerman, found a link between the two when he analysed 38 CFS patients. Of these, 18 had lowered cardiac function, and they were also the ones who suffered the most severe symptoms, such as joint pain, headache, swollen lymph glands and sore throat.
Although the patients' reduced cardiac functions weren't clinically significant, Peckerman believes that poor blood circulation may be. In a separate study, he found that some CFS patients are more likely to suffer heart failure.
His study also established that 20 CFS patients didn't have poor heart function, so why does it affect only some? Peckerman believes that chronic infection can lead to left ventricular dysfunction in a subset of CFS patients, which suggests chronic fatigue symptoms in these people may be the result of poor muscle function in the heart.
(Source: American Journal of the Medical Sciences, November 27, 2007).