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Phlebology. 2007;22(4):156-63.

Restless legs syndrome in patients with chronic venous disorders: an untold story.

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  • 1Illinois Phlebology Group, USA.



To prospectively study the profile of restless leg syndrome (RLS) in patients presenting to a phlebology practice.


The study uses prospective questionnaire and clinical observation study. In all, 174 consecutive patients and 174 matched controls were evaluated in detail. The diagnosis of restless legs syndrome (RLS) was established by the International RLS study group (IRLSSG) criteria. Detailed clinical, systemic and Duplex ultrasound evaluations were done to establish the presence of chronic venous disorders (CVD) (reflux > 0.5 s on augmentation manoeuvers and revised clinical, aetiological, anatomical and pathological [CEAP] criteria).


Of the 174 consecutive subjects studied (22M: 152F), 63 (36%) had evidence of RLS compared with only 34 of 174 of the controls (19%, P < 0.05). Sixty-two (98%) of these RLS-positive study subjects were subsequently diagnosed with CVD. In comparison, 31 (91%) of the RLS-positive control subjects (n = 34) were found to have CVD. This prevalence of CVD was comparable with RLS-positive study subjects, but was significantly higher than the prevalence in CVD in RLS-negative controls (P < 0.01). Only three (9%) of the controls had RLS without CVD. RLS-positive subjects were typically women above the age of 40 years (P < 0.01 vs. men, P < 0.01 vs. below 40 years). A significant difference in clinical presentation in the study subjects was the high prevalence of leg cramps in the RLS-positive subjects (P < 0.01). None of the patients with RLS in this series gave history of anaemia, chronic renal failure or an established psychiatric or neurological disease as found pathognomic for RLS by others.


RLS appears to be a common overlapping clinical syndrome in patients with CVD. Prospective blinded therapeutic trials are planned to study the influence of definitive treatments for CVD on sequential RLS scores.

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