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Childhood onset RLS

Clinical bottom line

The prevalence of RLS in children attending a sleep disorders programme was 5.9% (definite 4.2%; probable 1.7%).


S Kotagal, MH Silber. Childhood-onset restless legs syndrome. Annals of Neurology 2004 56: 803-807.


The setting was 538 patients aged 18 or under attending a sleep disorders programme over four years at the Mayo clinic. Current diagnostic criteria for RLS in children were used.


Out of 538 children, 23 fulfilled criteria for definite RLS, and nine criteria for probable RLS. Sleep onset or insomnia problems were the most common presenting complaint, in 9/9 in the probable and 19/23 of definite diagnoses of RLS.

The 32 children with definite or probable RLS according to the new diagnostic criteria contrasted with 62 with RLS before the criteria were applied.


RLS can occur in children, but was uncommon even in children attending a sleep disorders clinic.