(1) Introduction: Multiple studies have shown that peak oxygen consumption is reduced in the majority of myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS )patients, using the gold standard for measuring exercise intolerance: cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET). A 2-day CPET protocol has shown different results on day 2 in ME/CFS patients compared to sedentary controls. No comparison is known between ME/CFS and idiopathic chronic fatigue (ICF) for 2-day CPET protocols. We compared ME/CFS patients with patients with chronic fatigue who did not fulfill the ME/CFS criteria in a male population and hypothesized a different pattern of response would be present during the 2nd day CPET. (2) Methods: We compared 25 male patients with ICF who had completed a 2-day CPET protocol to an age-/gender-matched group of 26 male ME/CFS patients. Measures of oxygen consumption (VO2
), heart rate (HR), systolic and diastolic blood pressure, workload (Work), and respiratory exchange ratio (RER) were collected at maximal (peak) and ventilatory threshold (VT) intensities. (3) Results: Baseline characteristics for both groups were similar for age, body mass index (BMI), body surface area, (BSA), and disease duration. A significant difference was present in the number of patients with fibromyalgia (seven ME/CFS patients vs. zero ICF patients). Heart rate at rest and the RER did not differ significantly between CPET 1 and CPET 2. All other CPET parameters at the ventilatory threshold and maximum exercise differed significantly (p
-value between 0.002 and <0.0001). ME/CFS patients showed a deterioration of performance on CPET2 as reflected by VO2
and workload at peak exercise and ventilatory threshold, whereas ICF patients showed improved performance on CPET2 with no significant change in peak workload. (4) Conclusion: This study confirms that male ME/CFS patients have a reduction in exercise capacity in response to a second-day CPET. These results are similar to published results in male ME/CFS populations. Patients diagnosed with ICF show a different response on day 2, more similar to sedentary and healthy controls.
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