Quantifying postoperative sleep loss associated with increased pain in children undergoing a modified Nuss operation

Benjamin T. Many*, Yazan K. Rizeq, Soyang Kwon, Jonathan C. Vacek, Seth D. Goldstein, Catherine Jane Hunter, Hassan Ghomrawi, Fizan Abdullah

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose: The presence of pain may interrupt sleep and impede normal postoperative recovery; however, no prior studies have quantified sleep loss due to pain in children undergoing inpatient surgery. Wearable accelerometers objectively measure sleep patterns in children. We aimed to quantify sleep loss associated with patient reported pain scores after a Modified Nuss operation. Methods: Ten patients undergoing Modified Nuss operations were recruited during their inpatient stay. Children wore an Actigraph GT3X-BT accelerometer postoperatively during their hospital stay. Hourly sleep minutes were recorded using the Actigraph between 10 pm and 6 am. Patient reported pain scores were abstracted from patient charts. Mixed linear regression models, adjusting for within-subject random effects, were estimated to quantify the association between hourly sleep minutes and patient reported pain scores. Results: Patients were 30% female, with an average age of 15.7 years (range 13–22). The majority (70%) of patients were white non-Hispanic. All patients received a patient controlled analgesic pump. Average postoperative length of stay was 4.8 days (range 4.0–6.0; SD = 0.8). A total of 240 sleep hours and associated pain scores were analyzed. Patients slept on average 48 min per hour. Mixed model analysis predicted that a 1-point increase in pain score was associated with 2.5 min per hour less sleep time. Conclusion: Increases in patient-reported pain scores are associated with sleep loss after a Modified Nuss operation. Objectively quantifying sleep loss associated with postoperative pain using accelerometer data may help clinicians better understand their patient's level of pain control. Our findings provide the basis for future studies aimed at more accurately titrating pain medication to optimize sleep and speed up recovery. Level of Evidence: Case Series Without Comparison Group, Level IV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1846-1849
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of pediatric surgery
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2020


  • Accelerometers
  • Children
  • Pain
  • Pectus excavatum
  • Pediatric surgery
  • Sleep
  • Wearable telemetry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Surgery


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