Restless legs syndrome: A new comorbidity in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

Published:April 22, 2020DOI:


      • Current Knowledge/Study Rationale: Sleep quality is compromised in IPF patients.
      • Results: RLS is prevalent and severe in IPF and concurs to worsen sleep quality.
      • Study impact: Treatment of RLS in patients with IPF could ameliorate sleep quality and, in turn, quality of life.



      Sleep disorders have a high prevalence among patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). The prevalence of restless legs syndrome (RLS) is not known in these patients, neither is its clinical impact as a comorbidity. We investigated the association of RLS with IPF and characterized the clinical features of RLS in a cohort of IPF patients.


      Fifty patients with diagnosis of IPF were prospectively enrolled. RLS was diagnosed using the validated 5-item RLS criteria. Sleep quality was evaluated using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. The prevalence of RLS in the IPF group was compared to that observed in a group of 293 patients referred for suspect of sleep disorders. The relationships between RLS and clinical parameters were determined using multivariate logistic regression.


      Prevalence of RLS in the IPF group was significantly higher than in the control population of patients referred for sleep disorders (IPF: 24%, controls 10%: χ2 6.49, p = 0.011). Higher PSQI score confirmed to be associated with RLS after adjusting for demographics and clinical parameters of disease severity (OR = 1.38, 95%CI 1.08–1.76; p = 0.01).


      RLS is highly prevalent in IPF and significantly worsen sleep quality in these patients. The benefit/risk ratio of a specific therapeutic intervention for RLS in IPF should be assessed in further prospective research.



      IPF (Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis), RLS (Restless legs syndrome), COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), OSAS (Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome), PSQI (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index)
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