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The Effect of Cold Dialysis in Motor and Sensory Symptoms of RLS/WED Occurring During Hemodialysis: A Double-Blind Study

Sakkas, Giorgos K.*‖; Tsaknaki, Evaggelia*; Rosa, Clara S.; Giannaki, Christoforos D.; Krase, Argyro A.*; Lavdas, Eleftherios§; Hadjigeorgiou, Georgios M.; Stefanidis, Ioannis; Karatzaferi, Christina*‖

doi: 10.1097/MAT.0000000000000622
Renal/Extracorporeal Blood Treatment

Restless legs syndrome/Willis–Ekbom disease (RLS/WED) is a common sensorimotory disorder affecting almost 30% of hemodialysis (HD) patients. RLS/WED induces discomfort during rest hours, and its symptoms have also been observed during HD sessions. Anecdotal reports suggest that cooling the dialysate solution during dialysis could help patients overcome those symptoms and improve restlessness. The aim of this double-blind study was to assess whether a reduction of the dialysate temperature by 1°C could reduce motor and sensory symptoms of RLS/WED occurring during HD. Thirty-two HD patients participated in the study. Patients were divided into two groups: the RLS (N=16) and the non-RLS groups (N=16). Patients were studied on two different scenarios for two consecutive HD sessions, 1 week apart: 1) standard temperature of the dialysate (37°C) and 2) low temperature of the dialysate (36°C cold dialysis scenario). In all sessions, motor (leg movement per hour of HD [LM/hHD]) and sensory symptoms were assessed. The reduction of dialysate temperature by 1°C was effective in reducing motor symptoms as they assessed the LM/hHD by 36% only in patients with RLS, while a significant interaction was found between “LM/hHD affected by temperature” and “RLS status” (p = 0.039). Sensory symptoms also reduced by 10% after the reduction of the dialysate temperature. The reduction of the dialysate temperature by 1°C reduced motor symptoms by 36–54% and sensory symptoms by 10% in HD patients with RLS/WED. Cold dialysis could be considered a safe nonpharmacological approach for the amelioration of RLS/WED symptoms occurring during HD.

From the *Department of PE and Sport Science, University of Thessaly, Trikala, Greece; Bioscience Institute, Sao Paulo State University, Rio Claro, Brazil; Department of Life and Health Sciences, University of Nicosia, Nicosia, Cyprus; §Department of Medical Radiological Technologists, Technological Education Institute of Athens, Athens, Greece; School of Health Science, Department of Medicine, University of Thessaly, Larissa, Greece; and Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences, University of St Mark & St John, Plymouth, United Kingdom.

Submitted for consideration November 2016; accepted for publication in revised form May 2017.

Correspondence: Giorgos K. Sakkas, PhD, Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences, University of St Mark & St John, Plymouth, PL6 8BH, United Kingdom. Email gsakkas@marjon.ac.uk

Copyright © 2018 by the American Society for Artificial Internal Organs