Katherine (Kathy) S. Rowe, MD, is a consultant paediatrician at the University of Melbourne Royal Children's Hospital, Victoria, Australia, and an expert in the area of ME/CFS and the relationship between health and education. She has learned much from her extensive cohort and feedback from the young people with this illness.
2017 Pediatric Primer
Dr. Rowe was one of the authors of the 2017 Pediatric Primer published in Frontiers in Pediatrics.
- Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Diagnosis and Management in Young People: A Primer (OPEN ACCESS/FULL TEXT). Authors: Peter C. Rowe, Rosemary A. Underhill, Kenneth J. Friedman, Alan Gurwitt, Marvin S. Medow, Malcolm S. Schwartz, Nigel Speight, Julian M. Stewart, Rosamund Vallings and Katherine S. Rowe
Abstract: Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is a complex disease that affects children and adolescents as well as adults. The etiology has not been established. While many pediatricians and other health-care providers are aware of ME/CFS, they often lack essential knowledge that is necessary for diagnosis and treatment. Many young patients experience symptoms for years before receiving a diagnosis. This primer, written by the International Writing Group for Pediatric ME/CFS, provides information necessary to understand, diagnose, and manage the symptoms of ME/CFS in children and adolescents. ME/CFS is characterized by overwhelming fatigue with a substantial loss of physical and mental stamina. Cardinal features are malaise and a worsening of symptoms following minimal physical or mental exertion. These post-exertional symptoms can persist for hours, days, or weeks and are not relieved by rest or sleep. Other symptoms include cognitive problems, unrefreshing or disturbed sleep, generalized or localized pain, lightheadedness, and additional symptoms in multiple organ systems. While some young patients can attend school, on a full or part-time basis, many others are wheelchair dependent, housebound, or bedbound. Prevalence estimates for pediatric ME/CFS vary from 0.1 to 0.5%. Because there is no diagnostic test for ME/CFS, diagnosis is purely clinical, based on the history and the exclusion of other fatiguing illnesses by physical examination and medical testing. Co-existing medical conditions including orthostatic intolerance (OI) are common. Successful management is based on determining the optimum balance of rest and activity to help prevent post-exertional symptom worsening. Medications are helpful to treat pain, insomnia, OI and other symptoms. The published literature on ME/CFS and specifically that describing the diagnosis and management of pediatric ME/CFS is very limited. Where published studies are lacking, recommendations are based on the clinical observations and practices of the authors.
Talks and Interviews
- 2014, Dr Kathy Rowe at a seminar put on by Emerge Australia (formerly ME/CFS Australia (Victoria)).
- 2007, Panel on "Chronic fatigue syndrome," interviewed by Natasha Mitchell on All in the Mind on ABC Radio National Australia
- 2006, "A Pediatric Case Definition for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome"
"Summary: For a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), most researchers use criteria that were developed by Fukuda et al. (1994), with modifications suggested by Reeves et al. (2003). However, this case definition was established for adults rather than children. A Canadian Case Definition (ME/CFS; Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/CFS) has recently been developed, with more specific inclusion criteria (Carruthers et al., 2003). Again, the primary aim of this case definition is to diagnose adult CFS. A significant problem in the literature is the lack of both a pediatric definition of ME/CFS and a reliable instrument to assess it. These deficiencies can lead to criterion variance problems resulting in studies labeling children with a wide variety of symptoms as having ME/CFS. Subsequently, comparisons between articles become more difficult, decreasing the possibility of conducting a meta-analysis. This article presents recommendations developed by the International Association of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Pediatric Case Definition Working group for a ME/CFS pediatric case definition. It is hoped that this pediatric case definition will lead to more appropriate identification of children and adolescents with ME/CFS."
- 1999, "Five-Year Follow-Up of Young People with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Following the Double Blind Randomised Controlled Intravenous Gammaglobulin Trial."
"Summary: Three and 5 year follow-up studies of eighty-nine young people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome who completed a double blind randomised controlled trial of intravenous gammaglobulin has been conducted to determine whether the improvement following the intravenous gammaglobulin was sustained...Follow-up data were obtained on 86 of 89 after the study concluded...There was no persistent deterioration in function related to CFS in any young person. Four had reported recurrence of symptoms lasting 3-8 months and again improved. Others remained ‘improved’ or continued to improve...Seventeen per cent of those who responded were still moderately unwell with another 23% ‘not back to normal yet.’ Sixty per cent of participants considered they were ‘well’ at the last follow-up with 45% scoring 10/10...There was no deterioration in overall function over the 5 years following participation in the gammaglobulin trial, and young people continued to improve although a significant number were still disabled."
- 1997, "Double-blind randomized controlled trial to assess the efficacy of intravenous gammaglobulin for the management of chronic fatigue syndrome in adolescents." Done at the Department of Paediatrics, University of Melbourne Royal Children's Hospital, Victoria, Australia.
"ABSTRACT: A double blind randomized controlled trial was conducted in 71 adolescents aged 11-18 years... [fulfilling] Fukuda et al., 1994...Three infusions of 1 gm/kg ... were given one month apart. The dummy solution was a 10% w/v maltose solution with 1% albumin of equivalent volume for weight. Efficacy was assessed by difference in a mean functional score including school attendance, school work, social activity and physical activity, between baseline, three months and six months after the final infusion. There was a significant mean functional improvement at the six month follow-up of 70 adolescents with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome of average duration 18 months. There was also a significant improvement for both groups from the beginning of the trial to the six month post infusion follow-up.
- Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Diagnosis and Management in Young People: A Primer
- Rowe, Peter C.; Underhill, Rosemary A.; Friedman, Kenneth J.; Gurwitt, Alan; Medow, Marvin S.; Schwartz, Malcolm S.; Speight, Nigel; Stewart, Julian M.; Vallings, Rosamund; Rowe, Katherine S. (2017), "Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Diagnosis and Management in Young People: A Primer", Frontiers in Pediatrics, 5 (121), doi:10.3389/fped.2017.00121
- Jason, Leonard A; Jordan, Karen; Miike, Teruhisa; Bell, David S; Lapp, Charles; Torres-Harding, Susan; Rowe, Kathy; Gurwitt, Alan; De Meirleir, Kenny; Van Hoof, Elke LS (2006), "A Pediatric Case Definition for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome", Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, 13 (2-3): 1-44, doi:10.1300/J092v13n02_01
- Rowe, K.S. (1999), "Five-Year Follow-Up of Young People with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Following the Double Blind Randomised Controlled Intravenous Gammaglobulin Trial", Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, 5 (3-4): 97-107, doi:10.1300/J092v05n03_08
- Rowe, K.S. (1997), "Double-blind randomized controlled trial to assess the efficacy of intravenous gammaglobulin for the management of chronic fatigue syndrome in adolescents.", Journal of Psychiatric Research, 31 (1): 133-47, PMID 9201655