Restless legs syndrome/Willis–Ekbom disease prevalence in beta thalassemia patients

Euthimia Dimitriadou, Christoforos D. Giannaki, Maria Tsekoura, Ioannis Stefanidis, Georgios M. Hadjigeorgiou, Eleftherios Lavdas, Christina Karatzaferi, Giorgos K. Sakkas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Both beta thalassemia and restless legs syndrome (RLS) patients share some common pathophysiological characteristics related to iron handling. In the present study, the aim was to explore the prevalence of RLS as well as to explore potential association between the syndrome and various quality of life-related parameters in a sample of beta thalassemia patients. Methods: One hundred fourteen (age 40 ± 11 yr, 59 M/55F) beta thalassemia patients participated in this cross-sectional descriptive study. Patients were screened for RLS based on the international RLS study group diagnostic criteria as well as a battery of validated questionnaires. Results: The prevalence of RLS in this sample of beta thalassemia patients was zero. The quality of life score was low (78 ± 18). Iron levels were within normal range (191 ± 66 mcg/dL) while ferritin levels were high as expected (1836 ± 225 ng/dL). Conclusions: Our sample of patients comes from central Greece where the prevalence of RLS in the general population is 4% while in renal failure patients is 27%. To our surprise, there was no presence of RLS among this sample of beta thalassemia patients. The adequate levels of iron and ferritin often seen in these patients could be the reason of the absence of RLS symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalSleep and Breathing
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 19 Apr 2017


  • Anemia
  • Ferritin
  • Iron
  • Sleep disorders


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