Case of the week: Restless legs meet phantom limbs
I learned something at work today. It's rare that I acquire new facts on the job. Normally, I'm in charge of attractively repackaging old and dubious opinion.
Restless legs syndrome in a patient with amputation of both legs
Estivill E, de la Fuente-Panell V, Segarra-Isern F, Albares-Tendero J. Rev Neurol. 2004 Sep 16-30;39(6):536-8.
INTRODUCTION: We present the case of a patient who, after amputation of both legs, suffered restless legs syndrome (RLS). This syndrome is characterised by a feeling of agitation in the legs and an overwhelming need to move them.
CASE REPORT: A 62-year-old male patient who visited because of sleep onset and maintenance insomnia. The aetiology of the insomnia was interpreted as being an anxiety-dysthymic syndrome, which improved with suitable medication. Five months later, the patient returned with the same symptoms (onset insomnia). On questioning the patient again, we noticed that he displayed clear symptoms of RLS, despite the absence of both lower limbs. The clinical features were resolved with the administration of ropinirole.
CONCLUSIONS: We do not know of any similar cases, but the scarce amount of knowledge available about RLS makes it likely that many patients with amputations present this problem without any proper diagnosis.