The Impact of Race and Ethnicity on Surgical Risk and Outcomes Following Palatoplasty: An Analysis of the NSQIP Pediatric Database

Jordan N. Halsey, Lindsey Asti, Richard E. Kirschner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To determine how race and ethnicity affect palatoplasty 30-day outcomes. Design: Retrospective review. Patients/setting: The 2012 to 2019 National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) Pediatric database was used to identify patients ≤ 2 years who underwent primary palatoplasty. We compared demographics, comorbidities, and 30-day outcomes among different racial and ethnic groups. Logistic regression was used to determine independent risk factors for adverse events. Main outcome measures: Increased risk for adverse events and postoperative surgical outcomes, including complications, readmission, and prolonged length of stay. Results: A total of 8537 patients were identified in the database. African-American patients had the highest proportion of premature infants and infants with a BMI < 15% at the time of repair. Asian patients underwent palatoplasty at a later age compared to other races (12.7 months vs 11.7-12.1 months). Postoperatively, the odds of a complication were significantly higher in Asian patients (aOR = 1.73, 95% CI: 1.17-2.57) and other/unknown patients (aOR = 1.40, 95% CI: 1.05-1.86), but not among African American (aOR = 1.02, 95% CI: 0.70-1.47) or Hispanic (aOR = 0.93, 95% CI: 0.69–1.26) patients. Other/unknown patients were more likely to require postoperative ventilation (aOR = 2.34, 95% CI: 1.38-3.95). The odds of readmission were highest in Asian and other/unknown patients. African American, Hispanic, and other/unknown patients were more likely than Caucasian patients to be hospitalized > 2 days postoperatively. Conclusion: This study highlights ethnic differences in presentation and 30-day outcomes following palatoplasty. Further evaluation of disparities in cleft care should be performed to improve healthcare access and surgical outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • cleft palate
  • palatoplasty
  • race and ethnicity
  • racial disparities in cleft care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology

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