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Study shows fibromyalgia often misdiagnosed

There are two ways of diagnosing fibromyalgia -- criteria-based diagnosis and clinician-based diagnosis. However, New Hampshire residents should know that a recent study found that there is only a fair amount of agreement between the two ways. This means that many patients are either being incorrectly diagnosed with fibromyalgia or having their fibromyalgia labeled as something else.

The study involved 497 patients at a university clinic. First, investigators had the patients take two tests -- the Multidimensional Health Assessment Questionnaire and a questionnaire with the preliminary diagnostic criteria that the American College of Rheumatology had created in 2010. Patients were then set up with rheumatology staff for evaluation.

A total of 121 patients met ACR criteria for fibromyalgia while 104 received a fibromyalgia diagnosis from their clinician. The two ways of diagnosis agreed 79.2 percent of the time. Still, clinicians failed to identify 60 cases of fibromyalgia and mistakenly labeled 43 criteria-negative patients as having the condition.

Investigators say the results of their study put into question those clinical diagnostic methods that are based on the International Classification of Diseases. While fibromyalgia criteria are easy to use, factors like clinician bias and the validity of the physician's diagnosis can play a role.

There are times when doctor negligence is involved in a misdiagnosis. Those who are misdiagnosed may wind up undergoing unnecessary treatments that injure them and allow the real problem to worsen all the while. However, if there are grounds for a malpractice case, a victim may be able to recover damages. However, it must be shown that the doctor and patient had a preexisting relationship and that the patient followed all the doctor's instructions. Then, the doctor's negligence must be established. This is why hiring a lawyer may be wise.

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