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Bispebjerg Hospital - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
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A step towards a new delimitation of functional somatic syndromes: A latent class analysis of symptoms in a population-based cohort study

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OBJECTIVES: The current delimitation of functional somatic syndromes (FSS) is inconsistent. We aimed to investigate somatic symptom profiles in the general adult population to contribute to a new, data-driven delimitation of FSS.

METHODS: Information on 31 self-reported somatic symptoms used in the delimitation of various FSS and bodily distress syndrome (BDS) was obtained from the DanFunD study-a population-based cohort study on 9656 adults (participation 33.6%) from Greater Copenhagen, Denmark. Latent class analysis was used to identify symptom profiles. The profiles were described by their relation with sex, age, chronic disease, self-perceived health, symptom impact, self-reported FSS, and BDS case-status.

RESULTS: Eight symptom profiles were identified. The largest profile had no symptoms (49% of the population). Three profiles were characterized by a few, specific symptoms: muscle and joint pain (17%), gastrointestinal symptoms (6%), and general symptoms (13%). Three profiles had multiple symptoms in specific combinations: musculoskeletal and general symptoms (7%); fatigue, musculoskeletal and gastrointestinal symptoms (3%); and cardiopulmonary, gastrointestinal and general symptoms (3%). Lastly, one profile (2%) had high probability of all symptoms. The last four profiles (15%) were strongly associated with BDS case-status, poor self-perceived health and high impact of symptoms. Analyses excluding persons with multi-symptomatic chronic disease showed similar results.

CONCLUSIONS: We identified eight symptom profiles characterized by specific combinations of symptoms. Four of these had multiple symptoms from several bodily systems showing large overlap with BDS, possibly indicating subtypes of FSS. The profiles contribute to a new delimitation of FSS by illustrating the importance of specific symptom combinations.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Research
Volume108
Pages (from-to)102-117
Number of pages16
ISSN0022-3999
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2018

    Research areas

  • Journal Article

ID: 53714644