Patients With a History of Oronasal Fistula Repair Exhibit Lower Oral Health Measured With Patient-Centric Outcomes Measures

Alyssa Fritz, Diana S. Jodeh, Fatima Qamar, James J. Cray, S. Alex Rottgers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Oronasal fistulae following palatoplasty may affect patients’ quality of life by impacting their ability to eat, speak, and maintain oral hygiene. We aimed to quantify the impact of previous oronasal fistula repair on patients’ quality of life using patient-reported outcome psychometric tools. Methods: A cross-sectional study of 8- to 9-year-old patients with cleft palate and/or lip was completed. Patients who had a cleft team clinic between September 2018 and August 2019 were recruited. Participants were divided into 2 groups (no fistula, prior fistula repair). Differences in the individual CLEFT-Q and Child Oral Health Impact Profile-Short Form 19 (COHIP-SF 19) Oral Health scores between the 2 groups were evaluated using a multivariate analysis controlling for Veau classification and syndromic diagnosis. Results: Sixty patients with a history of cleft palate were included. Forty-two (70%) patients had an associated cleft lip. Thirty-two (53.3%) patients had no history of fistula and 28 (46.7%) patients had undergone a fistula repair. CLEFT-Q Dental, Jaw, and Speech Function were all higher in patients without a history of a fistula repair; however, none of these differences were statistically significant. The COHIP-SF 19 Oral Health score demonstrated a significantly lower score in the fistula group, indicating poorer oral health (P =.05). Conclusions: One would expect that successful repair of a fistula would result in improved function and patient satisfaction, but the consistent trend toward lower CLEFT-Q scores and significantly increased COHIP-SF 19 Oral Health scores in our study group suggests that residual effects linger and that the morbidity of a fistula may not be completely treated with a secondary correction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1142-1149
Number of pages8
JournalCleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • dental health
  • oral health
  • pediatrics
  • quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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