Periodic limb movements during sleep and prevalent hypertension in the multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis

Brian B. Koo, Stefan Sillau, Dennis A. Dean, Pamela L. Lutsey, Susan Redline

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Periodic limb movements during sleep (PLMS) are associated with immediate increases in blood pressure. Both PLMS and hypertension have different distributions across racial/ethnic groups. We sought to determine whether PLMS is associated with hypertension among various racial/ethnic groups. A total of 1740 men and women underwent measurement of blood pressure and polysomnography with quantification of PLMS. Hypertension was defined as systolic blood pressure (SBP) ≥140, diastolic BP ≥90, or taking antihypertensive medication. For those taking antihypertensives, an estimated pretreatment SBP value was derived based on observed SBP and medication type/dose. Measures of PLMS, PLMS index, and PLMS arousal index were the main explanatory variables. Hypertension and SBP were modeled with logistic and multivariable regression adjusted for age, sex, body mass index, cardiovascular risk factors, lifestyle/habitual factors, apnea-hypopnea index, and race/ethnicity. In the overall cohort, prevalent hypertension was modestly associated with PLMS index (10 U; odds ratio, 1.05; 95% confidence interval, 1.00-1.10) and PLMS arousal index (1 U; 1.05; 1.01-1.09) after adjusting for confounders. Association in the overall cohort was influenced by large effect sizes in blacks, in whom the odds of prevalent hypertension increased by 21% (1%-45%) for 10 U PLMS index increase and 20% (2%-42%) for 1-U PLMS arousal index increase. In blacks, every 1-U PLMS arousal index increase was associated with SBP 1.01 mm Hg higher (1.01; 0.04-1.98). Associations between PLMS and blood pressure outcomes were also suggested among Chinese-Americans but not in whites or Hispanics. In a multiethnic cohort of community-dwelling men and women, prevalent hypertension and SBP are associated with PLMS frequency in blacks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)70-77
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 20 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 American Heart Association, Inc.


  • Blood Pressure
  • Continental Population Groups
  • Ethnicity
  • Hypertension
  • PLMS


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