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J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 66:688-689 doi:10.1136/jnnp.66.5.688a
  • Letters to the editor

Restless legs syndrome associated with spinal cord lesions

  1. MATHIAS HARTMANN,
  2. ROBERT PFISTER,
  3. KARL PFADENHAUER
  1. Department of Neurology, Zentralklinikum Augsburg, Augsburg, Germany
  1. Dr M Hartmann, Department of Neurology, Zentralklinikum Augsburg, Stenglinstrasse 2, 86156 Augsburg, Germany. Telephone 0049 821 400 2991; fax 0049 821 400 2691.

    Restless legs syndrome may be either a primary or a secondary disorder. The primary form of the syndrome is often familial whereas the secondary form is mainly associated with uraemia, iron deficiency, or pregnancy. Almost all patients with restless legs syndrome show periodic leg movements during sleep.1 The pathogenesis of both restless legs syndrome and periodic leg movements is still speculative. Yokota et al have reported an association of periodic leg movements with spinal cord lesions.2 However, none of these patients had the typical clinical features of restless legs syndrome. Restless legs syndrome associated with myelopathy is documented in one patient with a Borrelia induced myelitis.3 We report three patients who developed a restless legs syndrome in close temporal association with spinal cord lesions.

    Case 1 was a 35 year old woman who presented with a 3 week history of painless restlessness of her left lower leg that occurred only at rest, particularly in the evening and at night. The restlessness was partially relieved by walking. With the onset of these symptoms, the patient had noticed a numbness of her left hemibody below the breast. Nine months previously, a numbness of the right leg had subsided spontaneously within 1 week. On examination, the patient had decreased senses for touch, pain, and temperature over the …