Review of diagnostic instruments for the restless legs syndrome/Willis-Ekbom Disease (RLS/WED): critique and recommendations

J Clin Sleep Med. 2014 Dec 15;10(12):1343-9. doi: 10.5664/jcsm.4298.


Objectives: Over the last decade, increased research on therapy, pathogenesis, epidemiological and genetic aspects of restless legs syndrome/Willis-Ekbom Disease (RLS/WED) has necessitated development of diagnostic instruments specific to RLS. The Movement Disorder Society commissioned a task force to formally evaluate the available evidence on diagnostic instruments in RLS.

Methods: A literature search identified 4 instruments specific to RLS. Each instrument was evaluated by 3 criteria, which included (a) use in RLS, (b) use by groups other than the group that developed the instrument, and (c) formal validation and adequate clinimetric properties. Instruments were then qualified as "Recommended" when all 3 criteria were met, "Suggested" when used for RLS but only one of the other criteria are met, and "Listed" when used in RLS but there is absence of the other 2 criteria. Details regarding the development, use, and clinimetric properties of each instrument are summarized, along with the recommendations of the committee.

Results and conclusion: The Recommended diagnostic instruments are the Hening Telephone Diagnostic Interview (HTDI), the Cambridge-Hopkins diagnostic questionnaire for RLS (CH-RLSq), and the RLS Diagnostic Index (RLS-DI). An unmet need is the development of a diagnostic instrument for pediatric RLS. Diagnostic instruments are particularly useful in studies where patients are not personally interviewed or examined in the office setting.

Keywords: Willis-Ekbom Disease; diagnostic instruments; restless legs syndrome.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic / standards*
  • Pediatrics / methods*
  • Restless Legs Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*