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Cleft Palate Craniofac J. 2008 Sep;45(5):525-32. doi: 10.1597/06-250.1.

Preferential associations between oral clefts and other major congenital anomalies.

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ECLAMC (Latin American Collaborative Study of Congenital Malformations) at Hospital Materno Infantil Ramón Sardá, Buenos Aires, Argentina.



To identify preferential associations between oral clefts (CL = cleft lip only, CLP = cleft lip with cleft palate, CP = cleft palate) and nonoral cleft anomalies, to interpret them on clinical grounds, and, based on the patterns of associated defects, to establish whether CL and CLP are different conditions.


Included were 1416 cleft cases (CL = 131, CLP = 565, CP = 720), among 8304 live- and stillborn infants with multiple congenital anomalies, from 6,559,028 births reported to the International Clearinghouse for Birth Defects Surveillance and Research by 15 registries between 1994 and 2004. Rates of associated anomalies were established, and multinomial logistic regressions applied to identify significant associations.


Positive associations with clefts were observed for only a few defects, among which anencephaly, encephaloceles, club feet, and ear anomalies were the most outstanding. Anomalies negatively associated with clefts included congenital heart defects, VATER complex (vertebral defects, imperforate anus, tracheoesophageal fistula, and radial and renal dysplasia), and spina bifida.


The strong association between all types of clefts and anencephaly seems to be attributable to cases with disruptions; the association between CP and club feet seems to be attributable to conditions with fetal akinesia. Some negative associations may depend on methodologic factors, while others, such as clefts with VATER components or clefts with spina bifida, may depend on biological factors. The different patterns of defects associated with CL and CLP, indicating different underlying mechanisms, suggest that CL and CLP reflect more than just variable degrees of severity, and that distinct pathways might be involved.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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