Researchers from the Netherlands recently released study results that aim to increase the diagnostic capabilities of healthcare providers in an effort to shorten the length of time from the onset of symptoms to clinical diagnosis of fibromyalgia. The study, “The value of routine creatine kinase and thyroid stimulating hormone testing in patients with suspected fibromyalgia: a cross-sectional study,” was published in the journal Rheumatology.
The study was conducted by senior researcher Dr. Alfons den Broeder, a rheumatologist and clinical epidemiologist at Sint Maartenskliniek. Broeder’s research is focused on proper patient care and management, as well as implementation of quality healthcare in rheumatology.
Broeder and his colleagues assessed the pervasiveness of abnormal creatine kinase (CK) and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) values and previously diagnosed myopathies or thyroid disease in patients with fibromyalgia.
To complete the study’s objectives, researchers compared data from the charts of patients with suspected fibromyalgia referred to the study hospital between November 2011 and April 2014, and tested their CK and TSH values, comparing them after a finalized diagnosis.
The values of 373 mostly female (94 percent) patients with an average age of 42 were analyzed, and the following findings were found to be of clinical importance:
- Abnormal CK and TSH values and related diagnoses were rare in fibromyalgia;
- 7.5 percent of patients had an abnormal CK;
- None of these patients had elevated CK levels-related myopathy diagnosed;
- The final diagnosis was fibromyalgia in 89 percent of the patients;
- 5 percent of patients had an elevated TSH;
- 4 percent of patients had a lowered TSH.
In conclusion, the authors wrote that “routine CK and TSH testing did not contribute to the diagnostic process in any of the studied patients. Therefore, we recommend against the routine use of CK and TSH testing in patients with suspected fibromyalgia seen at a secondary care center. However, elective testing in patients with signs and or symptoms suggestive of muscular or thyroid disease should still be done and be followed by appropriate diagnostic or therapeutic steps.”