New research has identified the lenticulostriate and ventral brainstem as the main regions implicated in stroke-related restless leg syndrome (s-RLS). Researchers also observed dopaminergic dysfunction in patients with sRLS.
A common neurologic condition, RLS is characterized by an irresistible urge to move the lower limbs, they note. Symptoms are improved by movement and worsened at rest and in the evening. Research shows RLS decreases quality of life, and severe forms can be debilitating and increase mortality.
The authors characterize what they call "the emerging entity of sRLS" in a series of 16 patients, eight men and eight women aged 41 to 81 years. These patients were hospitalized at the Stroke Unit of the University Hospital of Strasbourg and diagnosed with either de novo RLS (12 patients) or clear exacerbation of past RLS. As RLS preceded stroke symptoms in some patients, the authors believe the term "stroke-related" RLS is more accurate than "post-stroke" RLS. None of the participants had any condition other than sRLS that could explain their symptoms. None had a family history of RLS, took medication implicated in RLS pathophysiology, or had clinical symptoms of neuropathy.
The authors, led by Elisabeth Ruppert, MD, Department of Neurology, Sleep, and Electrophysiology Clinic, University Hospital of Strasbourg, France said that Clinicians should be aware of sRLS characteristics for appropriate diagnosis, especially since efficient treatments are available to relieve patients' symptoms.