JOURNAL ARTICLE

Restless legs syndrome/Willis-Ekbom disease diagnostic criteria: updated International Restless Legs Syndrome Study Group (IRLSSG) consensus criteria—history, rationale, description, and significance

Richard P Allen, Daniel L Picchietti, Diego Garcia-Borreguero, William G Ondo, Arthur S Walters, John W Winkelman, Marco Zucconi, Raffaele Ferri, Claudia Trenkwalder, Hochang B Lee
Sleep Medicine 2014, 15 (8): 860-73
25023924

BACKGROUND: In 2003, following a workshop at the National Institutes of Health, the International Restless Legs Syndrome Study Group (IRLSSG) developed updated diagnostic criteria for restless legs syndrome/Willis-Ekbom disease (RLS/WED). These criteria were integral to major advances in research, notably in epidemiology, biology, and treatment of RLS/WED. However, extensive review of accumulating literature based on the 2003 NIH/IRLSSG criteria led to efforts to improve the diagnostic criteria further.

METHODS: The clinical standards workshop, sponsored by the WED Foundation and IRLSSG in 2008, started a four-year process for updating the diagnostic criteria. That process included a rigorous review of research advances and input from clinical experts across multiple disciplines. After broad consensus was attained, the criteria were formally approved by the IRLSSG executive committee and membership.

RESULTS: Major changes are: (i) addition of a fifth essential criterion, differential diagnosis, to improve specificity by requiring that RLS/WED symptoms not be confused with similar symptoms from other conditions; (ii) addition of a specifier to delineate clinically significant RLS/WED; (iii) addition of course specifiers to classify RLS/WED as chronic-persistent or intermittent; and (iv) merging of the pediatric with the adult diagnostic criteria. Also discussed are supportive features and clinical aspects that are important in the diagnostic evaluation.

CONCLUSIONS: The IRLSSG consensus criteria for RLS/WED represent an international, interdisciplinary, and collaborative effort intended to improve clinical practice and promote further research.

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