Cortisol levels and sleep patterns in infants with orofacial clefts undergoing surgery

Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2014 Oct 15;10:1965-72. doi: 10.2147/NDT.S71785. eCollection 2014.

Abstract

Background: Traumatic events during early infancy might damage infants' psychobiological functioning, such as sleep and cortisol secretion. Infants born with orofacial clefts (OFCs) undergo functional, anatomical, and aesthetic surgery. The aim of the present study was to determine whether infants with OFC and undergoing OFC surgery show deteriorated sleep and cortisol secretion compared with healthy controls and with their presurgery status.

Methods: A total of 27 infants with OFC (mean age: 22 weeks) and 30 healthy controls (mean age: 23 weeks) took part in the study. For infants with OFC, sleep actigraphy was performed and saliva cortisol was analyzed 5 days before, during, and 5 days after surgery. For controls, sleep and saliva cortisol were assessed similarly, except for the period taken up with surgery.

Results: Compared with healthy controls, infants with OFC undergoing OFC surgery did not differ in sleep and cortisol secretion. Their sleep and cortisol secretion did deteriorate during the perisurgical period but recovered 5 days postsurgery.

Conclusion: In infants with OFC undergoing corrective surgery, the pattern of results for sleep and cortisol suggests that OFC surgery does not seem to constitute a traumatic event with long-term consequences.

Keywords: cortisol; infants; orofacial cleft; sleep; surgery.