Population-Based Study of Prevalence of Cleft Lip/Palate in Southern Thailand

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Oral cleft is a common craniofacial birth defect that leads to long-lasting adverse outcomes. In Thailand, there have been two studies of the prevalence of oral clefts using data from university hospitals during 1969 through 1978 and 1988 through 1999, which found prevalence rates of 1.23 and 1.22 per 1000 live births, respectively.


The primary outcome was to assess the prevalence of oral clefts from the birth defects registry during 2009 through 2013 in three provinces in southern Thailand. The secondary outcomes were to correlate the risk of oral cleft and maternal age. Design: Population-based study.


Four hundred sixty-seven hospitals in three provinces in southern Thailand.


Oral cleft cases and maternal data—including live births, stillbirths, and termination of pregnancy following a prenatal diagnosis—were collected from the birth defects registry.


Of the total 186,393 births, there were 269 oral cleft cases, giving an average prevalence of 1.44 per 1000 births (95% CI, 1.22–1.63). The most common cleft type was cleft lip and palate (45.0%), followed by cleft palate (29.0%), with 15.6% syndromic cleft. The mean maternal age was 28.0 ± 6.4 years. There were no differences in prevalence of oral clefts among the different maternal age groups. However, advanced maternal age 35+ years was associated with syndromic cleft children.


The prevalence of oral clefts was 1.44 per 1000 live births, with 15% of cases having an associated congenital anomaly or a recognized syndrome. Increased maternal age was associated with a higher prevalence of syndromic cleft.

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