Pneumatic compression may help those suffering from restless legs syndrome

Pneumatic compression may help those suffering from restless legs syndromeRecent research revealed that periodic pneumatic compression can greatly benefit restless legs syndrome patients. Research team led by Dr. Christopher J. Lettieri and Dr. Arn H. Eliasson, from the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC conducted a prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of 35 patients, the majority of them with moderate to severe symptoms of RLS at baseline.

21 study subjects received therapeutic while 14 study subjects received placebo pneumatic compression devices that were identical in appearance, weight, and noise generation.

Both the devices inflated leg wraps for five seconds of each minute but difference between them was that the real devices generated 40 cm H2O of air pressure with each inflation cycle. Sham devices only generated a 3- to 4-cm H2O rise in pressure.

Study subjects wore the device for an hour each day for four weeks and were asked to keep a log of their symptoms and therapy. Researchers found that eight participants (38.1%) using the real devices experienced a complete resolution of symptoms, compared with none of those using sham devices.

Study subjects receiving active compression showed greater improvements in illness severity, quality of life, daytime sleepiness, and fatigue as compared with sham compression.