Background: Orofacial clefts are a common congenital malformation with significant morbidity. There is no registry for orofacial clefts in New Zealand. A previous study identified the national incidence for the period 2000-2009.
Objective: To determine the incidence of orofacial clefts in the Northern region between 2010–2019.
Methods: Data was collected from the National Minimum Dataset and the available Regional Cleft Units. Crosschecking clinical records was used to confirm diagnosis when there was a mismatch. Patients were excluded if they were born outside the Northern region or if the diagnosis was not confirmed. Records were used to confirm subtype (cleft lip, cleft palate, cleft lip and palate), ethnicity and any associated syndromes.
Results 409 patients were born in the Northern region with an orofacial cleft (1.67/1000 live births, or 1 in 598). The incidence of cleft in Māori was higher than non-Māori, with a significantly higher incidence of cleft palate, lower incidence of cleft lip and similar incidence of cleft lip and palate. The rate of syndromic clefts was 0.47/1000, 43% of these being Pierre-Robin sequence.
Conclusions Cross checking two datasets was important as 24% of patients were missed on one dataset alone. The Northern region incidence of orofacial clefts between 2010-2019 has remained stable compared to the previous decade. Cleft palate is the dominant subtype and is significantly higher in Māori. 28% of clefts had associated syndromes. The ratio of non-syndromic clefts to syndromic clefts and the majority of syndromic clefts being cleft palate is comparable to the literature.