Basal cardiac autonomic tone is normal in patients with periodic leg movements during sleep.J Neural Transm (Vienna). 2014 Apr; 121(4):385-90.JN
The relationship between the autonomic nervous system and periodic leg movements during sleep (PLMS) is not completely understood. We aimed to determine whether patients with PLMS exhibit any changes in their basal heart rate variability (HRV), excluding episodes of leg movements and arousals. To investigate this, we conducted a cross-sectional study including 13 patients with PLMS (PLMS ≥ 20) and 13 matched controls, free of cardiovascular diseases and medications. Time-and frequency-domain HRV measures [mean R-R interval, low frequency (LF), high frequency (HF), LF/HF] were calculated across all sleep stages as well during wakefulness just before and after sleep during one-night polysomnography. We only took ECG segments of sleep without arousals and excluded periods of 30 s before and after the leg movements. No statistical differences between PLMS and control subjects were found in any of the time- or frequency-domain HRV measures across sleep stages. Basal cardiac autonomic modulation in patients with PLMS is similar to that of control subjects. Our results argue against a role for a basal disturbance of the cardiac autonomic nervous system in the pathogenesis of PLMS.