RLS bein diagnoised in children even very young ones..

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RLS bein diagnoised in children even very young ones..

Postby tigersleep » Tue Sep 09, 2008 4:56 pm

I am new to the site and have worked in sleep for years however the physician i worked with had little to say on RLS.

A friend has a child that had a sleep study and was told that her 1 year old has RLS.

Can this be a miss understanding given the age, the test showed only a few events that happened.

They also said the child has OSA and a T & A removel is scheduled.

Am I wrong to think that this child does not RLS that the age and the OSA and other health problems could be leading to the movements.

Please reply.

JIM :?:

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Postby Sojourner » Tue Sep 09, 2008 10:21 pm

T, Welcome to the board from a native Michigander. Dr. Buchfurher's book lists a table (Chapter 11) for the diagnoses of RLS in children age 2 to 12 years old. So, yes, I guess diagnosing RLS at an early age--particularly if there is a family history, some evidence of PLMD (Periodic Leg Movement Disorder), sleep distubance, and the four essential adult criteria for RLS. Guess I don't remember reading anything about someone as young as 1 year old being diagnosed with RLS.

Also, typically, while PLMD is often diagnosed through a "sleep study," RLS is diagnosed via history and "clinical" evaluation (does the person exhibit the 4 essential criteria of RLS).

What events happened? If they are referring to PLM's, the criteria for children is that they must have a "periodic leg movement index of five or more movements per hour of sleep." That index would be reported on the sleep study results.

Not sure about the OSA and T & A but perhaps others will have some info. to pass on. However, Dr. B's book lists a number of conditions, in children, that need to be ruled out as they can be confused with RLS (although some may occur in combination with RLS). Related to sleep apnea and PLM's (Periodic Leg Movement's) Dr. B's book states: "The child may also have limb movements that occur at the end of an apnea or breathing pause; these should not be interpreted as PLM because they may represent a response to the abnormal breathing event." Dr. B's book also states that a T & A "can result in a cure in more than 90 percent of the cases."

Dr. B also cites (on page 145) a paper published in 1999 by the Standard of Practice Committee of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine which states: "No specific recommendations can be made regarding treatment of children ith RLS and PLMD.....The benzodiazepines, anticonvulsants, alpha adrenegic, and opioid classes of medication have been used widely in children for treatment of other medical disorders, but no acceptable trials have been performed in children with RLS or PLMD." Don't know if much has changed in about the 10 years from when this paper was published.

Again, this information and quotes are from Chapter 11, RLS in Children, of the book Restless Legs Syndrome by Mark J. Buchfuhrer, et. al. and often the information is not necessarily "age" specific. However, I don't recall the age of "1" being specifically mentioned.

Thanks for posting,

Best wishes,

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Postby Neco » Wed Sep 10, 2008 4:40 pm

As per the diagnosis of RLS via a sleep study, that's crazy. I have never seen any credible RLS expert testify that a sleep study can diagnose RLS. In fact they are more likely to also dispute the claim.

As mentioned before RLS is typically diagnosed via family history and studying of the presenting symptoms. Young children can certainly have RLS however as also noted treatment is pretty much up in the air as there have been no extensive studies.

I'm not sure there is too much that can be done in this case, that I would know of off hand

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Postby becat » Thu Sep 11, 2008 6:31 pm

Hi Jim,

First, poor thing at 1, wow. Maybe the family has a history or genetic side to the RLS discovery. That would be a hard call to make.

With that said, I have RLS as a lifelong pal, that is and has been a unwanted friend. It is my first memeory of life, in the form of growing pains. By the time I was 3-4 I knew what I could do to help and just did it, never bothering to wake my parents at all.
Hot water bottles every night until in my late teens electric heating pads came out.
*I never go to sleep with one on though. Everyone be safe with those!*
I did pass on the gentic form of RLS to my youngest son, as well.

Yes, knowing what I know now, I could see things in his behavior that might have lead me to think he had it that young as well.
He is a mild RLSer, and it simply robs him at night, but no pain or outrageous symptoms other than that so far.
But, I can see now what a problem it could have been for him, now!

The hard part about kiddos is that they need to be able to talk (preferrablly) to diagnose or it makes it more concrete in some minds.
And.....then there is treatment, which I would use everything non pharm for as long as possible. Actually, we all would if we had a choice.

Here is a link to the children section or sticky information that has been collected and added in the Special Population's section.
Good reads and helpful hints, links, docs., etc.


I hope this is helpful to the mom and the baby, it's not an easy way to grow up, but let them know they are not alone.
Thanks for the footwork on thier behalf.


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