To determine the prevalence of hoarseness in the cleft palate population.
Retrospective chart review from a tertiary pediatric hospital's craniofacial clinic.
Nonsyndromic patients with cleft palate who had undergone cleft palate repair were eligible for inclusion. Patients were excluded if they had previously undergone a tracheostomy or if they had significant hearing loss. A total of 487 patients met the inclusion criteria.
Main Outcome Measures
Medical records were reviewed for demographic data, presence of hoarseness, velopharyngeal insufficiency, symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease, and laryngoscopic findings.
Of the 487 patients, 27 (5.5%) had complaints of hoarseness: 13 boys and 14 girls. The average age at initial complaint was 4.6 years, with slight differences according to sex: 4.2 years for boys and 5.0 years for girls. Of those with hoarseness, 19 (70%) had velopharyngeal insufficiency, and 8 (30%) had concomitant symptoms of possible gastroesophageal reflux disease. Eleven patients underwent either direct or flexible laryngoscopy: 9 (33%) had vocal fold nodules, and 2 (7%) had edema and/or mucosal thickening of the vocal folds.
The 5.5% prevalence of hoarseness in this study is similar to the reported prevalence of 6% to 34% in the normal pediatric population. These results suggest that there is no difference in the cleft palate population and that hoarseness is either underrecognized and/or underreported. More studies are needed to fully elucidate the true prevalence of hoarseness in the cleft palate population and any correlation of hoarseness with velopharyngeal insufficiency and/or gastroesophageal reflux disease.