Results from a two-year retrospective cohort study presented at the 63rd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), Hawaii, U.S., showed that patients were significantly more likely to develop cardiovascular (CV) conditions, including hypertension, cardiac dysrhythmias and chronic ischemic heart diseases after an initial diagnosis of RLS, as compared to controls without RLS.
"These findings suggest a significant association between a diagnosis of RLS and subsequent records of major cardiovascular conditions, and build on previous evidence suggesting that RLS may be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The findings confirm the need for early diagnosis of RLS so that patients can be monitored for subsequent development of serious cardiovascular events," commented study author, Dr. Florent Richy, Head of Global Epidemiology, UCB and Adjunct Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Liege, Belgium.
The two year retrospective cohort study matched the U.S. medical records of 3,485 RLS patients to those of 3,485 healthy controls. Mean age was 55 years and female/male ratio was 2.34. The study investigated the risk of major CV risk events among patients diagnosed with RLS. The most frequent CV diagnoses observed were hypertension (48%), cardiac dysrhythmias (9.3%), chronic ischemic heart diseases (8.5%), occlusion and stenosis of cerebral arteries (2.81%), cardiomegaly (2.50%), and hypertensive heart disease (2.43%).
During this two-year observation period, RLS patients had a 12% greater risk of developing any CV event compared to healthy controls (p<0.01). The relative risk (95% CI) for CV events by category were, in decreasing order: other forms (non-ischemic) of cardiovascular diseases, 1.33 (1.20; 1.47); cerebrovascular diseases, 1.31 (1.12; 1.53); disease of the pulmonary circulation, 1.28 (0.86; 1.92); ischemic heart diseases, 1.20 (1.06- 1.35); diseases of the arteries, 1.19 (1.01; 1.43); and hypertension, 0.99 (0.84; 1.03).