Impact of Neighborhood Deprivation and Social Vulnerability on Outcomes and Interventions in Patients with Cleft Palate

Kaamya Varagur, John Murphy, Gary B. Skolnick, Sybill D. Naidoo, Lynn M. Grames, Katherine A. Dunsky, Maithilee Menezes, Alison K. Snyder-Warwick, Kamlesh B. Patel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To examine whether neighborhood disadvantage impacts length of follow-up, interventions, and outcomes for patients with cleft palate. Design: Retrospective cohort. Setting: Cleft Palate Craniofacial Institute Database at St. Louis Children's Hospital. Patients/Participants: Patients with cleft palate following in St. Louis Children's Hospital Cleft Palate Multidisciplinary Team Clinic. Interventions: Primary palatoplasty between 2012–2017. Patients were divided into quartiles across area deprivation index (ADI) and social vulnerability index (SVI), two validated, composite metrics of neighborhood disadvantage, to examine whether living in neighborhoods from different deprivation quartiles impacts outcomes of interest. Main Outcome Measure: Follow-up through age 5, surgeries and surgical complications, speech, developmental, and behavioral outcomes Results: 205 patients were included. 39% of patients belonged to the most deprived ADI quartile, while 15% belonged to the most vulnerable SVI quartile. There were no differences between ADI or SVI quartiles in number of operations received (p ≥ 0.40). Patients in the most deprived ADI quartile were significantly more likely to have speech/language concerns (OR 2.32, 95% CI [1.20–4.89], p = 0.01). Being in a more vulnerable SVI quartile was associated with developmental delay (OR 2.29, 95% CI [1.04–5.15], p = 0.04). ADI and SVI quartile did not impact risk of loss to follow-up in the isolated and combined cleft lip and palate subgroups (p ≥ 0.21). Conclusions: Neighborhood disadvantage impacts speech and developmental outcomes in patients with cleft palate despite comparable length of follow-up in multidisciplinary team clinic.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • cleft lip and palate
  • cleft palate
  • developmental delay
  • epidemiology
  • language development
  • outcomes
  • palatoplasty
  • social support
  • speech assessment
  • speech development
  • team care


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