Background: Restless leg syndrome (RLS) has been recognized as a typical additional
manifestation among patients with cirrhosis of the liver. RLS prevalence in liver cirrhosis further
worsens the quality of life, which has already been compromised with the disease-related complications
of cirrhosis itself.
Aims: The study aimed to determine the frequency and severity of Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
among patients with cirrhosis of the liver and to correlate its severity with the severity of cirrhosis.
Methods: This prospective cross-sectional study was carried out at Ruth K.M. Pfau Civil Hospital
(Karachi, Pakistan) from December 2019 to February 2020. Three hundred and fifteen cirrhotic patients
with any etiology were included in the study after informed written consent. Restless leg syndrome
with its severity was determined in all cirrhotic patients. For continuous variables, means
and medians with standard deviations were calculated, while percentages and proportions were
used for discrete variables. Spearman correlation was used to find significance between RLS Severity
Score (RSS) and Model of End-stage Liver Disease MELD Score. A p value of < 0.05 was considered
significant for all analyses.
Results: The frequency of RLS among cirrhotic patients was 38.4%. More than half (54.5%) of the
patients had severe RLS. Viral related hepatitis C and hepatitis B were the most common cause of
cirrhosis of the liver (57.8% and 30.8%). A significant difference was found between as patients
both with or without RLS in terms of age (p=0.003), gender (p=0.005), hemoglobin (p=0.00), and
serum albumin (p=0.01). No significant association was found between RLS severity score and
MELD Score (p=0.693).
Conclusion: Prevalence of RLS is very high among cirrhotic patients, but no correlation was found
between the severity of RLS and cirrhosis. Further studies should be carried out to assess the quality
of life in cirrhotic patients having RLS.