European Journal of Epidemiology

, Volume 22, Issue 6, pp 389–395

Epidemiology of cleft palate alone and cleft palate with accompanying defects

  • Emily W. Harville
  • Allen J. Wilcox
  • Rolv Terje Lie
  • Frank Åbyholm
  • Hallvard Vindenes
Birth Defects

DOI: 10.1007/s10654-007-9129-y

Cite this article as:
Harville, E.W., Wilcox, A.J., Lie, R.T. et al. Eur J Epidemiol (2007) 22: 389. doi:10.1007/s10654-007-9129-y


The epidemiology of cleft palate with multiple defects is often thought to be different from that of cleft palate alone, but there are few empirical data on this question. We explored this in a population-based data set created by combining data from two sources: the 1.8 million live births recorded from 1967 to 1998 in the Norwegian Birth Registry, and the two Norwegian surgical centers that repair cleft palate. Accompanying defects were identified from either source. Stratified analysis and logistic regression were used to assess relative risks by covariates. Of 1,431 babies with cleft palate, 31 % had another birth defect recorded by one or both sources. Prevalence of isolated cleft palate was steady over time, while cleft palate with other defects increased substantially. Girls had a higher risk of isolated cleft palate (relative risk 1.4; 95% confidence interval, 1.2–1.6) but not of cleft palate accompanied by other defects (1.1; 0.88–1.3). Older parents and parents who were first cousins had no increased risk of isolated cleft palate, but were twice as likely as others to have a baby with cleft palate accompanied by other defects. Risk factors differ between cases of cleft palate with and without accompanying defects.


Birth defects; Cleft palate; Multiple abnormalities; Sex distribution



Cleft palate


International classification of diseases


Relative risk


Odds ratio

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emily W. Harville
    • 1
    • 7
  • Allen J. Wilcox
    • 2
  • Rolv Terje Lie
    • 3
    • 4
  • Frank Åbyholm
    • 5
  • Hallvard Vindenes
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of EpidemiologyUniversity of North Carolina-Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  2. 2.Epidemiology BranchNational Institute of Environmental Health SciencesDurhamUSA
  3. 3.Department of Public Health and Primary Health CareUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  4. 4.Medical Birth Registry of Norway, Norwegian Institute of Public HealthBergenNorway
  5. 5.Department of Plastic SurgeryThe National HospitalOsloNorway
  6. 6.Department of Plastic SurgeryHaukeland University HospitalBergenNorway
  7. 7.Department of EpidemiologyTulane University School of Public Health and Tropical MedicineNew OrleansUSA