Restless legs syndrome and cardiovascular diseases: A case-control study

OBJECTIVE: The association between restless legs syndrome (RLS), cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and hypertension is inconsistent. This case-control study examined i) the association between primary RLS, CVD and hypertension by taking into account many potential confounders and ii) the influence of RLS duration, severity and treatment, sleep and depressive symptoms on CVD and hypertension in primary RLS. METHODS: A standardized questionnaire to assess the RLS phenotype, history of CVD and hypertension, sleep and depressive symptoms, drug intake and demographic/clinical features was sent to the France-Ekbom Patients Association members. A CVD event was defined as a self-reported history of coronary heart disease, heart failure, arrhythmia or stroke. Hypertension was also self-assessed. Current treatment for hypertension and arrhythmia also defined underlying hypertension and arrhythmia. Controls without RLS and without consanguinity were chosen by the patients. RESULTS: 487 patients with primary RLS (median age 71 years; 67.4% women) and 354 controls (68 years, 47.7% women) were included. Most of the patients (91.7%) were treated for RLS, especially with dopaminergic agonists. The median age of RLS onset was 45 years. CVD and hypertension were associated with RLS in unadjusted association, but not after adjustment for age, sex and body mass index. Patients with RLS and with CVD and/or hypertension were significantly older, with hypercholesterolemia, sleep apnea and older age at RLS and at daily RLS onset compared with patients without CVD and/or hypertension. No significant difference was found for other RLS features, ferritin levels, daytime sleepiness, insomnia and depressive symptoms. CONCLUSION: Despite some limitations in the design of this study, we found that most of the treated patients for primary RLS had no association with CVD and hypertension after controlling for key potential confounders. Comorbid CVD or hypertension was associated with cardiovascular risk factors, but not with RLS features except for older age at onset.

  • Cholley-Roulleau M
  • Chenini S
  • Beziat S
  • Guiraud L
  • Jaussent I
  • Dauvilliers Y


  • PLoS One