Prevalence of Orofacial Clefts among Live Births in China: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Mengying Wang, Yuan Yuan, Zifan Wang, Dongjing Liu, Zhuqing Wang, Feng Sun, Ping Wang, Hongping Zhu, Jing Li, Tao Wu, Terri H. Beaty

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background: Orofacial clefts (OFCs) are common human birth defects in China. However, studies on the prevalence of OFCs present inconsistent results. The overall prevalence and geographic distribution of OFCs are poorly described in China. Thus, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to estimate the prevalence of OFCs. Methods: The systematic review and meta-analysis were conducted on the basis of an established protocol (PROSPERO 2015: CRD42015030198). We systematically searched for articles in four electronic databases, including Embase, PubMed, Wanfang Database, and China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI) to identify relevant studies about prevalence of OFCs in China. Meta-analysis, including subgroup analysis, was conducted to estimate the pooled prevalence. Results: A total of 41 studies published between 1986 and 2015 were included in our analysis. The sample size ranged from 2,586 to 4,611,808 live births. The random-effects model of meta-analysis showed that the overall prevalence of OFCs in China was 1.4 per 1000 live births (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.1–1.7). In subgroup analysis based on geographic regions, we found that OFC prevalence in Southwest (2.3 per 1000 live births, 95% CI, 1.1–4.7) was higher than that in other regions of China. There were no significant time trends of OFCs during the study period (p-value = 0.47). Conclusion: The overall prevalence of OFCs in China was 1.4 per 1000 live births. No significant secular trend of prevalence has been found in this analysis. Further studies need to be conducted to explore the etiology of OFC to better control the risk of this common birth defect. Birth Defects Research 109:1011–1019, 2017.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1011-1019
Number of pages9
JournalBirth Defects Research
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 17 2017


  • meta-analysis
  • orofacial clefts
  • prevalence
  • systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Embryology
  • Toxicology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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