Background: Cleft lip, with or without cleft palate (CL±P), is the most common craniofacial anomaly in newborns. The incidence of CL±P varies among different ethnic populations and is presumed to be higher in developing countries. In the Middle East, the incidence has variably been reported as 0.3 to 2.19 per 1000 live births and is generally regarded as similar to Caucasians. There is currently no literature reporting the incidence of clefting in Palestinians living in the territories. Reports from Palestinian populations in Israel and Jordan infer an incidence of 1.39 per 1000 live births. However, the reported incidence in stable populations may not reflect the actual incidence of clefting in the territories.
Methods: This is a retrospective study examining all newborn records at Makassed Maternity Hospital in Jerusalem between January 1, 1986, and December 12, 1995. Data were collected by the senior author (A.D.) and interpreted by coauthors. Frequencies were established based on the number of isolated and nonisolated CL±P born during this time period.
Results: During the 10-year period from January 1, 1986, to December 12, 1995, there were 33,239 live births. Among these births, there were 35 isolated and nonisolated combined CL±P born (1.05/1000 live births).
Conclusions: Based on this limited data set from a single, tertiary referral hospital, we conclude that the prevalence rate of CL±P among a Palestinian population may be less than that reported in surrounding areas. However, more broadly based studies using nationalized birth registries are required to determine an accurate prevalence rate of CL±P among Palestinians.
Keywords: Palestinian; clefts; incidence.