Demographics of Orofacial Clefts in Canada From 2002 to 2008

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Abstract

Objective:

Orofacial clefts such as cleft lip, cleft palate, and cleft lip and palate are the most frequent congenital anomalies of the head and neck. The purpose of this study was to determine the current demographics for orofacial clefts in Canada.

Methods:

A request for data from all Canadian provinces (excluding Quebec due to incompatibilities with provincial coding systems) for the fiscal years 2002-2003 to 2007-2008 was submitted to the Canadian Institute for Health Information. Variables evaluated included gender, cleft type, gestational age, birth weight, income quintile, and institution health region.

Results:

Over the period studied, the prevalence of orofacial clefts ranged from 11.0 to 15.3 per 10,000 live births (1 in 654 to 1 in 909 live births). The distribution of cleft types for live births with orofacial clefts was 17% for cleft lip, 41% for cleft palate, and 42% for cleft lip and palate, of which cleft lip and cleft lip and palate were male dominant (62% and 66% male, respectively) and cleft palate was female dominant (56% female). Saskatchewan and Manitoba had significantly higher cleft birthrates (P< .05) compared with the other provinces. Birth weight and gestational age (but not income quintile) were significantly (P< .0001) lower for newborns with orofacial clefting compared with those with no cleft.

Conclusions:

Canada has one of the highest orofacial cleft birthrates in the world (prevalence of 12.7 per 10,000 live births, approximately 1 in 790 live births). This study presents an updated demographic of orofacial clefts in Canadian newborns and may be useful in predicting the burden of anticipated health care.

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