Prevalence of Fibromyalgia at the Medical out Patient Clinic, Kenyatta National Hospital

  • MS Dokwe
  • G Omondioyoo
  • EO Amayo


Background: Fibromyalgia syndrome is a disorder that is associated with significant morbidity. Despite its existence worldwide there is hardly any epidemiological data in Africa and none in Kenya.
Objectives: To determine the prevalence of fibromyalgia, chronic regional pain and chronic widespread pain in patients attending the medical outpatient and rheumatology clinic at Kenyatta National Hospital and to investigate the frequency of fibromyalgia symptoms and to document the primary diagnosis and cormobid conditions in the these patients.
Design: A Cross sectional descriptive study.
Setting: The medical outpatient and rheumatology clinic at The Kenyatta National Hospital.
Subjects: Three hundred and eighty four patients with musculoskeletal pain.
Results: The prevalence of fibromyalgia, chronic regional pain and chronic widespread pain amongst patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain (n = 384) in the medical outpatient clinic and rheumatology clinic of Kenyatta National Hospital was 13% (n = 50), 76% (n = 291) and 11% (n = 43) respectively. The overall three month prevalence of fibromyalgia in the general medical outpatient clinic was 1% , chronic widespread pain 1.2% and chronic regional pain 6.7% .The mean age of patients with fibromyalgia was 48.5 years SD 2.6 [95%CI 43.1-53.8]. There was a female predominance of 97.7% (n = 42). Mean duration of illness was 5.8 years SD 0.8 [95%CI 4.1 - 7.4]. Rheumatoid arthritis was the most frequent primary diagnosis at first consultation in the clinics [30.2% (n=13/43)]. Hypertension was the most common cormobid disease [53.5 %( n=23/43)] The mean total FIQR score for fibromyalgia patients was 55.94% SD (2.85)95%CI 50.19-61.68. The most frequent symptoms were pain, fatigue, stiffness, depression, and unrefreshing sleep while balance problems, headache and increased sensitivity to the environment were the least reported symptoms.
Conclusion: Fibromyalgia is prevalent among patients with musculoskeletal complains in the medical outpatient and rheumatology clinics at the Kenyatta National Hospital. These patients frequently have other cormobid illnesses and the primary diagnosis is often missed. Therefore, there is need to sensitise care givers on this condition

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