Autonomic complaints in patients with restless legs syndrome

Natalya Shneyder, Charles H. Adler, Joseph G. Hentz, Holly Shill, John N. Caviness, Marwan N. Sabbagh, Thomas G. Beach, Erika Driver-Dunckley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Background: Data regarding autonomic function in restless legs syndrome (RLS) are limited to heart rate and blood pressure changes in cases with periodic limb movements (PLMS). Methods: We compared autonomic symptoms of 49 subjects with RLS vs 291 control subjects using the Scales for Outcome in Parkinson disease-Autonomic (SCOPA-AUT) questionnaire, consisting of 23 items in six domains scored from 0 to 3. The total score and domain scores were transformed to 0-100 points. Subjects with neurodegenerative disorders (i.e., dementia, Parkinsonism) were excluded. Results: The RLS group was younger (mean. ±. standard deviation, 77.9. ±. 8.0 vs 80.5. ±. 7.9. years; P=.03) and included more women (84% vs 69%; P=.04). The mean SCOPA-AUT total score was higher in the RLS group compared with the control group (20. ±. 11 vs 16. ±. 9; P=.005). Additionally the RLS group had abnormalities in gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and pupillomotor domains. When comparing the percentage of subjects with any complaint on individual questions (score of ≥1), the RLS group had a greater number of subjects with sialorrhea, constipation, early abdominal fullness, lightheadedness when standing, and heat intolerance. Conclusions: Autonomic complaints, especially gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and oversensitivity to light, were significantly increased in subjects with RLS. Causes for autonomic dysfunction in RLS require further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1413-1416
Number of pages4
JournalSleep Medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • Autonomic complaints
  • Autonomic dysfunction
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms
  • Periodic limb movements
  • Restless legs syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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