The Veau classification represents the most commonly used system for characterizing cleft palate severity. Conflicting evidence exists as to how increasing Veau classification affects outcomes. This study compared perioperative outcomes between Veau III and IV cleft palate repairs.
The National Surgical Quality Improvement Program Pediatric (NSQIP-P) database was used to identify cleft palate repairs between 2012 and 2016 using CPT codes. Patients with alveolar bone grafts were excluded. Veau III (unilateral) and Veau IV (bilateral) cleft palate repairs were identified using International Classification of Disease code 9 and 10 (ICD-9 and -10 codes. Patient demographics, comorbidities, and adverse events were compared between the cohorts.
A total of 5026 patients underwent cleft palate repair between 2012 and 2016. Of the 2114 patients with identifiable Veau classification, 1302 had Veau III cleft palates and 812 had Veau IV cleft palates.
The Veau IV cleft palate patient population was older (377.8 versus 354.1 days, P < 0.001) and had significantly more comorbidities including a higher incidence of chronic lung disease (P = 0.014), airway abnormalities (P = 0.001), developmental delay (P = 0.018), structural central nervous system deformities (P < 0.001), and nutritional support (P < 0.001). Veau IV cleft palate repairs also had longer operative times (153.2 versus 140.2 minutes, P < 0.001). Despite significant differences in comorbidities and perioperative factors, there were no differences in 30-day complications, readmissions, or reoperation rates between Veau III and IV cleft palate repairs.
Patients undergoing Veau IV cleft palate repair have a significantly greater number of comorbidities than Veau III cleft palate repairs. Despite differences in patient populations, 30-day surgical outcomes are comparable between the cohorts.