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      Restless Legs Syndrome in Patients on Hemodialysis: Symptom Severity and Risk Factors

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          Background and Purpose

          Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a sleep disorder that frequently occurs in dialysis patients, which disturbs the sleep and reduces the quality of life. The aim of this study was to determine the risk factors for RLS in dialysis patients.


          Patients who visited any of four outpatient dialysis clinics between September 2005 and May 2006 were included in this study. The diagnosis of RLS and the severity assessment were made using the criteria described by the International Restless Legs Syndrome Study Group. We collected basic demographic data, clinical information, and laboratory findings, and then analyzed their association with various aspects of RLS using univariate and multivariate analyses.


          RLS was present in 46 (28.0%) of 164 dialysis patients. We found no significant risk factor for inducing RLS. The predialysis serum blood urea nitrogen (BUN) level in the dialysis patients with RLS was significantly correlated with RLS symptom severity.


          Predialysis BUN is related to RLS symptom severity. Further studies on the underlying mechanism are needed.

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          Most cited references 24

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          Validation of the International Restless Legs Syndrome Study Group rating scale for restless legs syndrome.

          There is a need for an easily administered instrument which can be applied to all patients with restless legs syndrome (RLS) to measure disease severity for clinical assessment, research, or therapeutic trials. The pathophysiology of RLS is not clear and no objective measure so far devised can apply to all patients or accurately reflect severity. Moreover, RLS is primarily a subjective disorder. Therefore, a subjective scale is at present the optimal instrument to meet this need. Twenty centers from six countries participated in an initial reliability and validation study of a rating scale for the severity of RLS designed by the International RLS study group (IRLSSG). A ten-question scale was developed on the basis of repeated expert evaluation of potential items. This scale, the IRLSSG rating scale (IRLS), was administered to 196 RLS patients, most on some medication, and 209 control subjects. The IRLS was found to have high levels of internal consistency, inter-examiner reliability, test-retest reliability over a 2-4 week period, and convergent validity. It also demonstrated criterion validity when tested against the current criterion of a clinical global impression and readily discriminated patient from control groups. The scale was dominated by a single severity factor that explained at least 59% of the pooled item variance. This scale meets performance criteria for a brief, patient completed instrument that can be used to assess RLS severity for purposes of clinical assessment, research, or therapeutic trials. It supports a finding that RLS is a relatively uniform disorder in which the severity of the basic symptoms is strongly related to their impact on the patient's life. In future studies, the IRLS should be tested against objective measures of RLS severity and its sensitivity should be studied as RLS severity is systematically manipulated by therapeutic interventions.
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            Epidemiology of restless legs symptoms in adults.

            Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a disorder characterized by sleep-disrupting unpleasant leg sensations, often accompanied by daytime behavioral problems. Treatment for this condition is available, but it is suspected that most instances of RLS remain undiagnosed. The goal of this investigation was to assess the prevalence and health status correlates of restless legs symptoms (hereinafter referred to as restless legs) in the general population. A question reflecting the clinical features of RLS was added to the 1996 Kentucky Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey. Data on the frequency of experiencing restless legs, self-rated general and mental health status, demographics, and behavioral risk factors were collected by telephone interview from 1803 men and women, 18 years and older. Experiencing restless legs 5 or more nights per month was reported by 3% of participants aged 18 to 29 years, 10% of those aged 30 to 79 years, and 19% of those 80 years and older. The age-adjusted prevalence for Kentucky adults is 10.0%; prevalence did not vary significantly by sex. The adjusted odds ratios (95% confidence intervals) for restless legs and diminished general health and poor mental health status were 2.4 (1.4-4.0) and 3.1 (2.0-4.6), respectively. Restless legs were significantly associated with increased age and body mass index, lower income, smoking, lack of exercise, low alcohol consumption, and diabetes. The prevalence of restless legs in the general adult population is high. Restless legs may be associated with decreased well-being, emphasizing the need for further research and greater medical recognition of this condition.
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              Sleep disorders in patients with end-stage renal disease undergoing dialysis therapy.

              Many patients with end stage renal disease (ESRD) undergoing dialysis therapy suffer from sleep disturbances. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of sleep disorders in a large population of uraemic patients recruited from 20 different dialytic centres in Triveneto. 883 patients on maintenance dialysis were enrolled in the study. Demographic, lifestyle, renal and dialysis data were recorded. Renal parameters were compared with the database of the Veneto Dialysis Register. Using a self-administered questionnaire we assessed the presence of the following sleep disorders: insomnia, restless leg syndrome (RLS), obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome (OSAS), excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS), possible narcolepsy, sleepwalking, nightmares and possible rapid eye movement behaviour disorders (RBD). Moreover, in order to determine the prevalence of sleep disturbances and the possible effect of demographic or clinical data on sleep, we divided our population into two groups: with (SLEEP+) and without (SLEEP-) sleep disorders. The questionnaire revealed the presence of insomnia (69.1%), RLS (18.4%), OSAS (23.6%), EDS (11.8%), possible narcolepsy (1.4%), sleepwalking (2.1%), nightmares (13.3%) and possible RBD (2.3%). Eighty percent demonstrated SLEEP+, having at least one sleep disorder. Independent risk factors for sleep disorders were advanced age (P<0.001), excessive alcohol intake (P<0.04), cigarette smoking (P<0.006), polyneuropathy (P<0.05) and dialysis shift in the morning (P<0.001). The questionnaire showed a high presence of sleep disruption in dialytic populations. Awareness by Italian nephrologists regarding sleep disruption seems to be insufficient. Our data might help nephrologists to deal with uraemic patients with possible sleep disorders. Concerning the high prevalence of possible narcolepsy, further studies using polysomnographic records are necessary to confirm our results.

                Author and article information

                J Clin Neurol
                Journal of Clinical Neurology (Seoul, Korea)
                Korean Neurological Association
                December 2008
                31 December 2008
                : 4
                : 4
                : 153-157
                [a ]Department of Neurology, Seoul Metropolitan Boramae Hospital, Seoul, Korea.
                [b ]Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul Metropolitan Boramae Hospital, Seoul, Korea.
                [c ]Department of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea.
                [d ]Lee Seo-Jin Nephrology Clinic, Seoul, Korea.
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Hyunwoo Nam, MD, PhD. Department of Neurology, Seoul Metropolitan Boramae Hospital, 425 Sindaebang-dong, Dongjak-gu, Seoul 156-707, Korea. Tel +82-2-870-2471, Fax +82-2-870-3866, hwnam@ 123456brm.co.kr
                Copyright © 2008 Korean Neurological Association
                Original Article


                restless legs syndrome, hemodialysis, blood urea nitrogen


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