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Daily Hemodialysis Helps Restless Legs Syndrome

Home short daily hemodialysis also offers sustained improvement in sleep disturbances

FRIDAY, March 18 (HealthDay News) -- The prevalence and severity of restless legs syndrome (RLS) and sleep disturbances decline with the initiation of short daily hemodialysis (SDHD) at home, according to a study published online March 17 in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Bertrand L. Jaber, M.D., from the Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, and colleagues examined the long-term effect of SDHD (six times per week) on the prevalence and severity of RLS in 127 adults with end-stage renal disease who required dialysis and were enrolled in the Following Rehabilitation, Economics and Everyday-Dialysis Outcome Measurements (FREEDOM) study. RLS was measured by the International Restless Legs Syndrome (IRLS) Study Group rating scale at baseline and after 12 months, and sleep disturbances were measured by the Medical Outcomes Study sleep survey.

The investigators found that 40 percent of the participants had RLS, and 55 percent had an arteriovenous fistula. After adjusting for RLS-related medications, the mean IRLS score improved significantly over 12 months, with greater improvement in patients with moderate-to-severe RLS (IRLS score, ≥15). Over 12 months, the percentage of patients with RLS and moderate-to-severe RLS declined from 35 to 26 percent and 59 to 43 percent, respectively. After adjusting for the presence of RLS and anxiolytics and hypnotics use, a similar and sustained 12-month improvement occurred in several scales of the sleep survey.

"The present interim report of the FREEDOM study demonstrates that initiation of SDHD at home is associated with an improvement in restless legs symptoms and sleep disturbances," the authors write.

Several of the study authors disclosed financial ties to NxStage Medical Inc., which funded the FREEDOM study.

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