By Cort Johnson in Health Rising.
Researchers and doctors get interested in ME/CFS in different ways. Many have a personal connection, but for David Systrom, a pulmonologist, it was all about demand. He didn’t seek chronic fatigue syndrome patients out – quite the contrary. When Systrom was given control of a clinical cardiopulmonary lab, he started doing invasive cardiopulmonary exercise tests (iCPET’s) on people with exercise intolerance. Once word of that got out, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, POTS and other patients starting pouring in.
It wasn’t the patients seeking Systrom out – it was their doctors; they finally had a place to send their strange exercise intolerant patients to. Rheumatologists, cardiologists, neurologists, and infectious disease specialists have gladly sent their patients his way for years. It’s not a small number. Systrom suggests that 10 percent of people with exercise intolerance fit this profile. Those referrals have lead to 1,500 highly sophisticated exercise tests, about 700 of which were done on people with ME/CFS/FM/POTS.
Systrom’s had his eye on chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) for a while, but up until now he’s been looking at exercise intolerance in general. That’s why, despite the fact that he has one of the biggest, and certainly the most sophisticated, database of exercise results in ME/CFS, he’s mostly unknown to researchers and patients.
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