Latest News

Periodic limb movements during sleep are common in patients with MS and fatigue



Periodic limb movements during sleep (PLMS) are common in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) who report fatigue, according to a retrospective analysis described at the annual meeting of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers.

“PLMS may contribute to daytime sleepiness and should be recognized and potentially treated. The etiology of fatigue related to sleep problems in people with MS is multifactorial and not just due to obstructive sleep apnea,” said lead author Jared Srinivasan, clinical research coordinator at South Shore Neurologic Associates in East Northport, New York, and colleagues.

Fatigue is common in patients with MS and can be disabling. For many patients with MS, sleep apnea is the underlying cause of fatigue. PLMS – leg movements that usually occur at 20- to 40-second intervals during sleep – are not commonly reported in MS. These movements cause sleep fragmentation, increase the energy cost of sleep, and contribute to daytime somnolence. Patients with PLMS often are unaware that they have them and do not report related symptoms unless they are specifically questioned about them. Polysomnography (PSG) is an effective, objective method of evaluating a patient for PLMS, but previous studies of PLMS in patients with MS have been small.

Mr. Srinivasan and colleagues performed a retrospective analysis to investigate the incidence and degree of PLMS in people with MS who had reported fatigue, had not previously been diagnosed as having sleep apnea or PLMS, and agreed to undergo overnight PSG.

The investigators included 292 participants in their study. The population’s average age was 47.3 years. Approximately 81% of patients were female. About 41% of the population had a PLMS index (PLMS per hour) greater than 0. Of participants with PSG-identified PLMS, 10% had a PLMS index of 5-10, 5% had a PLMS index of 11-21, and 12% had a PLMS index greater than 21. About 38% of the population experienced arousal because of PLMS. Of patients with arousal, 34% had a PLMS arousal index (number of arousals per hour) between 0 and 5, 31% had PLMS arousal index of 5-20, 14% had a PLMS arousal index of 20-50, and 21% had a PLMS arousal index greater than 50.

The investigators did not receive financial support for this study and did not report disclosures.

SOURCE: Srinivasan J et al. CMSC 2019. Abstract QOL29.

Next Article: