Background: Previous attempts to study the effect of prophylactic antibiotics on the outcomes of cleft palate surgery have been hampered by the need for a very large sample size to provide adequate power to discern a potentially small therapeutic effect. This limitation can be overcome by querying large databases created by health care governing bodies. Methods: Data from the Pediatric Health Information System database were used for this analysis. Patients, aged 6 to 18 months, who had undergone primary palatoplasty (International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, code 27.62) between 2004 and 2009 were included. Subsequent repair of an oronasal fistula between 2004 and 2015 was identified by International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, procedure code 21.82. Pharmacy billing records were used to determine antibiotic administration. Associations between antibiotic administration and fistula repair were assessed using random-intercept logistic regression adjusting for age, sex, race, and cleft type. Results: Seven thousand one hundred sixty patients were available for analysis; of these, 460 (6.4 percent) had a subsequent repair of an oronasal fistula. Fistula rates were 5.9, 11.4, and 5.2 percent among patients given preoperative antibiotics, only postoperative antibiotics, and no antibiotics, respectively (p < 0.001). Multivariable analysis results showed that the odds of having an oronasal fistula among patients who were administered preoperative antibiotics did not differ significantly (statistically) from patients who did not receive antibiotics (OR, 0.88; 95 percent CI, 0.59 to 1.31). Conclusions: The treatment goal of primary palatoplasty is the successful repair of the cleft without an oronasal fistula. Administration of preoperative antibiotics did not significantly reduce the odds of subsequent fistula repair within the same Pediatric Health Information System institution following primary palatoplasty.
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