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Sleep Med. 2005 Mar;6(2):101-6. Epub 2005 Jan 24.

Enhanced external counter pulsation (EECP) as a novel treatment for restless legs syndrome (RLS): a preliminary test of the vascular neurologic hypothesis for RLS.

Author information

1
Cardio-Sleep Center, Old Bridge, Edison, NJ, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:

Enhanced external counter pulsation (EECP) is used to treat angina. With sustained treatment this increases collateral circulation to the coronary arteries as well as to the body as a whole. We found some patients who underwent EECP for angina or congestive heart failure who also coincidentally had severe Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS). Case reports are presented.

PATIENTS AND METHODS:

Six patients with RLS (1F, 5M, ages 55-80) underwent EECP treatment. All patients were given the International RLS Study Group rating scale for RLS (the IRLS) before and immediately after 35 days of EECP treatment.

RESULTS:

The average IRLS rating scale score of the six patients before treatment was 28.8 (range 23-35), which indicates frequent and moderate to very severe RLS. After 35 days of EECP treatment the IRLS score was 6 (P<0.03), which indicates clinically insignificant RLS. Long-term follow-up in three patients indicates sustained improvement in all three at 3-6 months after EECP was completed (IRLS score 28.3-3.33). Further follow-up in four patients showed sustained improvement in two patients 1 year after EECP was completed.

CONCLUSION:

EECP improves RLS symptoms significantly and could be considered as an adjunct treatment for patients with RLS. In some cases, the improvement lasts for months after the course of treatment. In this way EECP is unique and unlike pharmacotherapy which requires continuous daily treatment. Furthermore, our results suggest that decreases in vascular flow influence the peripheral or central nervous system leading to the sensory symptoms of RLS. A larger number of patients studied under blinded conditions is needed to draw further conclusions.

PMID:
15716213
DOI:
10.1016/j.sleep.2004.10.012
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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