-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, March 18 (HealthDay News) -- Short, daily sessions of
hemodialysis at home may reduce sleep problems caused by restless
legs syndrome in dialysis patients, according to new research.
The study -- sponsored and funded by NxStage Medical Inc., which
makes home dialysis products -- is published online March 17 in the
Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
Dialysis patients are about four times more likely than people
in the general population to experience restless legs syndrome
(RLS), which causes abnormal sensations such as pins and needles or
creepy-crawly feelings in the legs while at rest. Restless legs
syndrome can interfere with sleep.
This study included 235 patients who performed dialysis at home
for a few hours six days a week, as an alternative to center-based
treatment. This led to significant improvement in restless legs
symptoms, according to the researchers.
"Over 12 months, there was decline in the percentage of patients reporting RLS and in those reporting moderate-to-severe symptoms," lead author Dr. Bertrand L. Jaber, of St. Elizabeth's Medical Center in Boston, said in a journal news release.
The patients also reported lasting improvement in sleep problems
such as insomnia and daytime sleepiness.
Study limitations included recruitment of relatively young
patients and the absence of a control group.
Future studies will look at whether short home dialysis
treatments affect hospitalization rates, the authors said.
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about
restless legs syndrome.
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