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Keywords:

  • Ankylosing spondylitis;
  • fatigue;
  • causes;
  • consequences;
  • management

Abstract

Objectives

To explore the perceived causes, consequences and management of fatigue in ankylosing spondylitis (AS).

Methods

In this single-cohort qualitative study, ten participants completed a seven-day diary and participated in a semi-structured interview exploring possible causes, consequences and self-management of fatigue. Interviews were recorded, transcribed and analysed using ‘framework’ analysis. Ethical approval was obtained.

Results

Three themes emerged: patterns and causes, consequences and management of fatigue. While patients’ descriptions of fatigue were similar, the patterns and perceived causes of fatigue varied between individuals. Fatigue impacted on social life, relationships and work. Two approaches to fatigue management were observed: help and support from others and self-management, with four participants having sought medical help for fatigue.

Conclusions

The study suggested that fatigue has a negative impact on quality of life in people with AS. Future practice should include a comprehensive fatigue assessment and the development of treatment programmes directed at enhancing self-management techniques. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.