Sleep in Children with Congenital Malformations of the Central Nervous System

Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep. 2018 May 23;18(7):38. doi: 10.1007/s11910-018-0850-6.


Purpose of review: Congenital malformations of the central nervous system may be seen in isolation or in association with syndromes that have multiorgan involvement. Among the potential health challenges these children may face, sleep concerns are frequent and may include chronic insomnia, sleep-related breathing disorders, and circadian rhythm disorders.

Recent findings: In this review, we describe recent research into sleep disorders affecting children with congenital malformations of the CNS including visual impairment, septo-optic dysplasia, agenesis of the corpus callosum, Aicardi syndrome, Chiari malformation, spina bifida, achondroplasia, Joubert syndrome, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, and congenital Zika syndrome. In many cases, the sleep disturbance can be directly related to observed anatomical differences in the brain (such as in apnea due to Chiari malformation), but in most syndromes, a complete understanding of the underlying pathophysiology connecting the malformation with sleep problem is still being elucidated. Our review provides a synthesis of available evidence for clinicians who treat this patient population, in whom appropriate diagnosis and management of sleep problems may improve the quality of life for both patient and caregiver.

Keywords: Achondroplasia; Aicardi; Chiari malformation; Corpus callosum; Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder; Joubert syndrome; Septo-optic dysplasia; Sleep disorders; Zika.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Central Nervous System Vascular Malformations / complications*
  • Central Nervous System Vascular Malformations / physiopathology
  • Central Nervous System Vascular Malformations / psychology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / etiology*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / physiopathology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / psychology
  • Sleep*