Periodic leg movements during sleep (PLMS) are sequences of ≥4 motor events with intermovement intervals (IMI) of 10-90 s. PLMS are a supportive diagnostic criterion for restless legs syndrome (RLS) and entail cardiac activation, particularly when associated with arousal. RLS patients also over-express short-interval leg movements during sleep (SILMS), which have IMI <10 s and are organized mainly in sequences of two movements (doublets). We tested whether the cardiac activation associated with SILMS doublets differs from that associated with PLMS in a sample of 25 RLS patients. We analysed time-series of R-R intervals synchronized to the onset of SILMS doublets or PLMS that entailed an arousal during non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep. We assessed cardiac activation based on the R-R interval decrease with respect to baseline during NREM sleep without leg movements. We found that the duration of the R-R interval decrease with SILMS doublets was significantly longer than that with PLMS, whereas the maximal decrease in R-R interval was similar. Scoring SILMS in RLS patients may therefore be relevant from a cardiac autonomic perspective.
- Journal Article