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Clinical- and criteria-based fibromyalgia diagnoses often differ

New Jersey patients who suffer from fibromyalgia often have to deal with widespread musculoskeletal pain. The fact that the disease is difficult to diagnose doesn’t make the pain any easier. Now, a new study illustrates how often two diagnostic techniques are at odds with each other.

The academic study, which was conducted by a leading rheumatology group, consisted of nearly 500 patients. Standard medical questionnaires were given and reviewed by staff members. Patients were then evaluated by the staff. This was done to compare criteria-based and clinical-based diagnoses. The differential in diagnoses was striking.

The clinical-based exams failed to identify nearly one half of those who tested positively based on standard criteria. Likewise, more than 10 percent of those with negative criteria for fibromyalgia were misdiagnosed by clinical findings. The researchers found the agreement between clinical and criteria based diagnoses as only fair. In the same study, 88 patients met standard criteria for rheumatoid arthritis, but the clinical diagnosis was in agreement in only slight to fair instances.

Unfortunately for those suffering from fibromyalgia, a second opinion is often needed to obtain a diagnosis. In the meantime, the pain caused by the condition does not disappear. The condition can be disabling, preventing work and other life activities. A delay in treatment can mean a delay in life experiences.

Misdiagnosis of a health condition is a common form of medical malpractice. A doctor must adhere to a reasonable standard of care. When the medical professional fails to meet this standard, the patient often suffers. Lost wages, pain, suffering and loss of consortium are common damages in a medical malpractice case. Those who have suffered damage in due to malpractice have the option of consulting with a personal injury attorney.