Pediatric restless legs syndrome diagnostic criteria: an update by the International Restless Legs Syndrome Study Group

Sleep Med. 2013 Dec;14(12):1253-9. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2013.08.778. Epub 2013 Sep 4.


Background: Specific diagnostic criteria for pediatric restless legs syndrome (RLS) were published in 2003 following a workshop at the National Institutes of Health. Due to substantial new research and revision of the adult RLS diagnostic criteria, a task force was chosen by the International Restless Legs Syndrome Study Group (IRLSSG) to consider updates to the pediatric diagnostic criteria.

Methods: A committee of seven pediatric RLS experts developed a set of 15 consensus questions to review, conducted a comprehensive literature search, and extensively discussed potential revisions. The committee recommendations were approved by the IRLSSG executive committee and reviewed by the IRLSSG membership.

Results: The pediatric RLS diagnostic criteria were simplified and integrated with the newly revised adult RLS criteria. Specific recommendations were developed for pediatric application of the criteria, including consideration of typical words used by children to describe their symptoms. Pediatric aspects of differential diagnosis, comorbidity, and clinical significance were then defined. In addition, the research criteria for probable and possible pediatric RLS were updated and criteria for a related condition, periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD), were clarified.

Conclusions: Revised diagnostic criteria for pediatric RLS have been developed, which are intended to improve clinical practice and promote further research.

Keywords: Children; Consensus; Diagnosis; Periodic limb movement disorder; Periodic limb movements in sleep; Restless legs syndrome; Sleep disorder; Willis–Ekbom disease.

Publication types

  • Consensus Development Conference

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Comorbidity
  • Diagnosis-Related Groups / standards*
  • Humans
  • International Classification of Diseases / standards*
  • Nocturnal Myoclonus Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Nocturnal Myoclonus Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Nocturnal Myoclonus Syndrome / therapy
  • Restless Legs Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Restless Legs Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Restless Legs Syndrome / therapy*