Growing pains and periodic limb movements of sleep in children
- Conflict of interest: None declared.
To investigate whether there was any association between growing pains (GP) and periodic limb movements of sleep (PLMS) in children referred for polysomnography (PSG), in light of the possible shared genetic determinants between GP and restless legs syndrome.
Records of all 903 children who underwent PSG at a paediatric hospital between January 2009 and May 2010 were retrospectively reviewed. Children aged 3–16 years, without neuromuscular or neurological/developmental disorders who were seen by a single sleep physician were included in the analysis. Data extracted included: current GP, PLMS index, mixed obstructive apnoea/hypopnoea index and patient demographics. GP was diagnosed in the pre-PSG consultation.
GP was recorded in 43 of the eligible 230 children referred for PSG of whom 25.6% had a PLMS index ≥5/h, significantly higher than in the children without GP (10.2%) (odds ratio 3.04, χ2 = 6.0, P = 0.014). The adjusted odds ratio for the association between GP and PLMS remained significant at 2.53 (95% CI 1.1–6.1, P < 0.05). A PLMS index ≥5/h was recorded in 30 of the 230 participants. GP and PLMS were also significantly multivariately associated with restlessness as the indication for PSG.
Children with GP were three times more likely to have a PLMS index ≥5/h than children without GP on PSG. These results suggest that GP may be associated with PLMS, giving greater support for the hypothesis that GP might lie on the phenotypic spectrum of restless legs syndrome.