This study aimed to systemically review the psychometric properties and clinical utility (feasibility) of tools to measure fatigue in neurological conditions. AMED, CINAHL, MEDLINE, Science Direct and Web of Knowledge were searched for studies of the psychometric properties of fatigue measures in adults with central nervous system disorders. Search terms were: Fatigue AND assess* OR measure* OR tool OR outcome OR index OR test OR scale AND stroke OR cerebrovascular* OR hemi* OR parkinson* OR sclerosis OR head injury OR brain injury OR motor neurone disease OR neuro* Articles that addressed validity; reliability and ability to detect change were selected. Two authors independently selected articles and extracted data. Strength of the psychometric properties and clinical utility were assessed against predetermined thresholds. A total of 25 articles were selected and 17 measurement tools identified including six versions of the Fatigue Severity Scale and five versions of the Fatigue Impact Scale. All were clinically feasible but none met all the criteria. Most were valid. Reliability and ability to detect change were infrequently evaluated, but were adequate when reported. The most thoroughly developed and psychometrically robust measures were the Neurological Fatigue Indices.
Despite the publication of many measures of fatigue in neurological conditions, none met all of the criteria for psychometric robustness and clinical utility but the Neurological Fatigue Indices are the best and can be employed with caution.