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Pediatr Nephrol. 2013 May;28(5):773-95. doi: 10.1007/s00467-013-2408-9. Epub 2013 Jan 20.

Restless legs syndrome in children with chronic kidney disease.

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  • 1Division of Pediatric Nephrology, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS, USA.



Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is considerably more common among adults with chronic kidney disease (CKD) than in the general population and is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. There is limited information on RLS in children with CKD. Failure to account for conditions that might mimic RLS can lead to overdiagnosis of this syndrome.


In a prospective, cross-sectional study, RLS prevalence was compared between pediatric CKD patients and healthy children. RLS was assessed via a questionnaire that included exclusion of mimics. Sleep characteristics and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) were also assessed.


Restless legs syndrome was more prevalent in CKD patients (n = 124) than in 85 normal children (15.3 vs. 5.9 %; p = 0.04). There was no significant association between RLS and CKD stage, CKD etiology, CKD duration, and dialysis or transplant status. Children with RLS were more likely to rate their sleep quality as fairly bad or very bad (41.2 vs. 8.8 %; p = 0.003) and report using sleep medications (42.1 vs. 14.7 %; p = 0.01). RLS was associated with lower HRQoL by parent report (p = 0.03). Only five of the 19 patients (26.3 %) with CKD and RLS had discussed RLS symptoms with a healthcare provider, and only one of these patients had been diagnosed with RLS prior to this study.


The prevalence of RLS is increased in children with CKD and appears to be underdiagnosed. Systematic screening for RLS and sleep problems would therefore appear to be warranted in children with CKD.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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