The clinical significance of the comorbidity of periodic limb movements during sleep (PLMS) in sleep-disordered breathing remains unclear. This study aimed to determine whether or not the presence of PLMS is related to depressed mood and poor quality of life in subjects with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
We defined PLMS as a periodic leg movement index of > 15/h. Scores for the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form Health Survey and Beck Depression Inventory were assessed with multiple logistic or linear regression analyses.
Of 1370 subjects with OSA, a prevalence of PLMS was 14.1%. Older age, men, and obesity were positively associated with PLMS. PLMS occurred in 17%, 15%, and 12% of mild, moderate, and severe subjects with OSA, respectively. Severe OSA was less likely to be associated with PLMS than mild OSA. PLMS negatively correlated with physical and mental component summary scores of the health survey but not with Beck Depression Inventory scores after controlling for confounding variables. PLMS were significantly associated with poor sleep architecture on polysomnography. However, the relationship between PLMS and disturbed sleep was no longer significant after adjusting for age.
Health-related quality of life, including physical and mental health but not depressive symptoms, was worse in subjects with OSA and PLMS than in those without PLMS.

© 2021. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG.