Background and Hypothesis: Chronic ear infections are a common occurrence in children with orofacial clefts involving the secondary palate. Less is known about the middle ear status of individuals with isolated clefts of the lip, although several studies have reported elevated rates of ear infection in this group. The purpose of this retrospective study was to test the hypothesis that chronic ear infections occur more frequently in isolated cleft lip cases (n = 94) compared with controls (n = 183). Methods: A questionnaire was used to obtain information on history of chronic ear infection. The association between ear infection status (present/absent) and cleft lip status (cleft lip case/ control) was tested using both chi-square and logistic regression. Results and Conclusions: The reported occurrence of chronic ear infection was significantly greater in cleft lip cases (31%) compared with unaffected controls (11%). After adjusting for age and sex, having a cleft lip increased the odds of being positive for ear infection by a factor greater than 3 (odds ratio = 3.698; 95% confidence interval = 1.91 to 7.14). Within cleft lip cases, there was no difference in the occurrence of ear infection by defect laterality or by the type of clefting present in the family history. Although velopharyngeal insufficiency was present in 18.4% of our cleft lip sample, there was no statistical association between ear infection and abnormal speech patterns. These results may have potential implications both for the clinical management of isolated cleft lip cases and for understanding the etiology of orofacial clefting.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Oral Surgery