Interdisciplinary cleft care outcomes in adults (Van der Straeten et al., 2023)
Purpose: Individuals born with a cleft palate with or without a cleft lip (CP ± L) often experience functional, aesthetic, and psychosocial consequences well into adulthood. This study aimed to investigate outcomes of speech and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in adults with a CP ± L who received interdisciplinary cleft care at the Ghent University Hospital using valid, reliable, and condition-specific instruments.
Method: Thirteen Belgian Dutch-speaking participants with a CP ± L with a mean age of 25.4 years (SD = 5.1, range: 20–33 years) and an age- and gender-matched control group of 13 participants without a CP ± L with a mean age of 25.2 years (SD = 4.8, range: 20–32 years) were included in this study. Speech characteristics were evaluated perceptually and instrumentally. HRQoL was assessed through standardized patient-reported outcome measures. Outcomes were compared with those of the control group and to normative data where available.
Results: Participants with a CP ± L in this sample demonstrated significantly lower speech acceptability (p < .001) and higher rates of hypernasality (p = .015) and nasal turbulence (p = .005) than the control group. They showed significantly higher satisfaction with appearance of the cleft scar compared with norms of adults with a CP ± L (p = .047). No other differences in speech characteristics, sociodemographics, or HRQoL were found between participants with and without a CP ± L.
Conclusions: The reduced speech acceptability and the presence of resonance and nasal airflow disorders may indicate the need for standardized long-term outcome measurement and interdisciplinary follow-up for speech characteristics and velopharyngeal insufficiency in young and middle adulthood in future clinical practice. Additional research is necessary to further substantiate these findings and to determine predictors for these continuing complications in adults with a CP ± L.
Supplemental Material S1. Post-hoc power analysis for t-tests (means), Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney test (two groups), using G*Power (Faul et al., 2007).
Van der Straeten, C., Verbeke, J., Alighieri, C., Bettens, K., Van Beveren, E., Bruneel, L., & Van Lierde, K. (2023). Treatment outcomes of interdisciplinary care on speech and health-related quality of life outcomes in adults with cleft palate. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 32(6), 2654–2675. https://doi.org/10.1044/2023_AJSLP-23-00024