Cerebrovascular Accident Risk in a Population with Periodic Limb Movements of Sleep: A Preliminary Meta-Analysis

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Abstract

Background and Purpose: Periodic limb movements of sleep (PLMS) are usually comorbid with hypertension, tachycardia, and coronary arterial diseases, which are also risk factors for cerebrovascular accidents (CVA). However, evidence about the relationship between CVA and PLMS is still weak. The aim of this study was to investigate (1) the prevalence of CVA in patients with PLMS, and (2) the severity of PLMS in patients with or without CVA through a meta-analysis. Methods: The electronic databases of PubMed, Embase, ScienceDirect, ClinicalKey, Cochrane Library, ProQuest, Web of Science, and ClinicalTrials.gov were searched. The inclusion criteria were (1) articles investigating comorbidity between PLMS and CVA, and (2) clinical trials in humans. Results: This meta-analysis included (1) 9,823 patients with PLMS and 9,416 controls from 5 studies to analyze the prevalence of CVA in PLMS, and (2) 158 patients with PLMS with CVA and 88 PLMS controls without CVA from 3 studies to analyze the severity of PLMS with and without CVA. The results showed (1) significantly higher comorbidity rates of CVA in the patients with PLMS than in the controls without PLMS (OR 1.267, p = 0.019), and (2) higher PLM index in the patients with CVA than in the controls (Hedges’ g = 0.860, p = 0.001; means difference: 4.435, p = 0.016). Conclusions: The results revealed (1) a worse severity of PLMS in the patients with CVA, and (2) increased prevalence of CVA in the patients with PLMS. Based on our results, the patients had a higher prevalence of CVA within 8 years of a diagnosis of PLMS compared to those without PLMS by about 1.3-fold. Whether (1) patients with PLMS receiving treatment have a similar incidence of stroke to those without PLMS, and (2) secondary stroke prevention can lower the severity of PLMS or whether those with severe PLMS have a higher risk of stroke is still inconclusive. Future studies investigating the prevalence of CVA in patients with PLMS should use a follow-up period of over 8 years.

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