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Sleep Med. 2010 Sep;11(8):785-90. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2010.02.011. Epub 2010 Jul 27.

Restless legs syndrome in end-stage renal disease: Clinical characteristics and associated comorbidities.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Federal University of Ceara, Brazil.



Despite being frequently described in patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD), clinical characteristics and comorbidities in association with restless legs syndrome (RLS) are still to be confirmed.


The aim of this study was to investigate clinical factors associated with RLS in ESRD patients in hemodialysis.


This is a cross-sectional study of 400 patients on hemodialysis, evaluating RLS, clinical features and other sleep abnormalities.


Out of 400, 86 patients presented RLS (21.5%; mean age 48.8+/-13.8y), being more frequent in females (p<0.005). Forty-eight individuals (12% mean age 50.7+/-13.1y) had moderate/severe RLS, 14 reported symptoms prior to hemodialysis, 13 described family history of RLS, and eight described symptoms as disturbing during dialysis. RLS cases showed lower hemoglobin (p<0.005), poorer quality of sleep (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index >5, p=0.002), higher scores on the Beck Depression Inventory Scale (p<0.005), greater scores on the Charlson Comorbidity Index (p=0.01) and the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (p=0.001) and higher risk of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA; Berlin questionnaire, p=0.01). Hypertension was more frequent in cases with moderate/severe RLS (p=0.01) and remained after controlling for the risk of OSA (p=0.02).


In ESRD patients in hemodialysis, RLS is present in 21.5%; 16% report symptoms prior to hemodialysis and a family history of RLS. Symptoms are disturbing during hemodialysis in 9% of cases. RLS is associated with lower hemoglobin, worse sleep quality, excessive daytime sleepiness, depressive symptoms and higher risk of OSA. Hypertension is associated with moderate/severe RLS.

Copyright 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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