Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is more common in children with chronic kidney disease (CKD) than in healthy children, new findings suggest.

In a prospective study comparing 124 children with CKD and 85 aged-matched healthy children (controls), Sandeep K. Riar, MD, of the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, and colleagues found that RLS was present in 15.3% of the CKD patients versus 5.9% of the controls, a significant difference between the groups, according to a report published online ahead of print in Pediatric Nephrology.

Previous research has shown that RLS is much more common among adults with CKD than in the general population.

Continue Reading

The new study also found that RLS was associated with a lower health-related quality of life based on parental reports, Dr. Riar’s team noted. Furthermore, among the CKD patients, those with RLS were more likely those without RLS to rate their sleep quality as fairly bad or very bad (41.2% vs. 8.8%).

The researchers noted that most of the RLS cases were undiagnosed, so systematic screening for RLS may be important.

RLS is a neurological disorder characterized by an irresistible urge to move the legs, with onset at night and at rest, the authors explained. For the study, the investigators used strict National Institutes of Health criteria for RLS and excluded common mimics of RLS.

The study, which was conducted at Emory University in Atlanta and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, is the first study of RLS in pediatric CKD patients to use a control group and exclude mimics.