Blood pressure changes associated with periodic leg movements during sleep in healthy subjects

Marie Hélène Pennestri, Jacques Montplaisir, Lorraine Fradette, Gilles Lavigne, Roberto Colombo, Paola A. Lanfranchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and objectives: Periodic leg movements during sleep (PLMS) are associated with important blood pressure (BP) increases in restless legs syndrome (RLS) patients. These movements also are highly prevalent in the healthy elderly population. The aims of our study were to evaluate if heart rate (HR) and BP changes associated with PLMS are present in healthy subjects with no report of health concerns and to compare the amplitude of cardiovascular changes in healthy subjects to that of RLS subjects. Methods: Fourteen healthy subjects (six men, eight women; 46.6 ± 9.7 y) and 14 RLS subjects (six men, eight women; 47.6 ± 11.8 y) matched for age and gender participated in our study. Beat-to-beat noninvasive BP was continuously recorded during one night of polysomnography. HR, systolic BP (SBP) and diastolic BP (DBP) were measured for 10 beats before and 15 beats after onset of PLMS with and without microarousals (MA). Results: PLMS were associated with sudden and significant increases of HR, SBP and DBP in both groups; however, cardiovascular increases were more pronounced in RLS subjects than in healthy subjects. Conclusions: Because PLMS index increases with age in healthy subjects and aging is associated with higher cardiovascular risk, further studies should investigate the impact of PLMS-related BP changes on the development of cardiovascular diseases in healthy elderly populations.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSleep Medicine
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2013


  • Blood pressure
  • Healthy subjects
  • Periodic leg movements
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Sleep
  • Sympathetic nervous system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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