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The burden of psychiatric disorders associated with orofacial cleft pathology among children in Ontario, Canada


Background — Individuals with orofacial cleft (OFC) may be at a higher risk of developing psychiatric disorders (PD) than the general population. We determined the risk of psychiatric diagnoses in children with OFC in Canada.

Methods — This population-based retrospective cohort study used health administrative data from the province of Ontario, Canada. Children with OFC who were born between April 1, 1994, and March 31, 2017, in Ontario were matched to five non-OFC children based on sex, date of birth, and mother’s age. We determined the rate of events and time-to-event for first diagnosis of PD in children aged ≥ 3 years (y), and for intellectual developmental delay (IDD) from birth. Risk factors for PD and IDD were assessed using 1-way ANOVA for means, Kruskal–Wallis for medians, and the χ2 test for categorical variables.

Outcomes — There were 3051 children with OFC (matched to 15,255 controls), of whom 2515 patients with OFC (12,575 controls) had a complete follow-up to the third birthday. Children with OFC were more likely to have PD than controls (54.90 vs. 43.28 per 1000 patient-years, P < .001), with a mean age to first diagnosis of 8.6 ± 4.2 y. The cleft palate group had the highest risk (HR 1.33, 95% CI 1.18–1.49). Children with OFC also had a higher risk of IDD than non-OFC children (27.78 vs. 3.46 per 1000 patient-years, p < .001).

Interpretation — Children born with OFC in Ontario had a higher risk of psychiatric diagnosis and IDD compared to controls. Further research is also required to better understand the predictors of variation in risk, including geographic location and the presence of congenital abnormalities, and identify potential areas for intervention.



Malic CC, Lam M, Donelle J, Richard L, Vigod S, Benchimol EI. J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg. 2023; 84:422-31. Epub 2023 Jun 9.

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