BACKGROUND : There is limited description of the feeding characteristics of infants with unrepaired cleft lip and palate, exposed
to HIV, but not necessarily infected.
Objective: To compare the feeding characteristics of infants with unrepaired cleft lip and palate and HIV-exposure, to infants
with unrepaired cleft lip and palate only.
METHOD : A two-group comparative design with a validated measure, the Neonatal Feeding Assessment Scale was used. The
effectiveness of oral feeding skills were included as objective measure. Twelve participants with unrepaired cleft lip and palate
and HIV-exposure and 13 with unrepaired cleft lip and palate were matched according to cleft type and use of feeding obturator.
There were no differences between the groups for mean age, birth weight and gestation. Participants were between two and 89
days old, bottle fed, and had no syndrome/co-occurring disorder.
RESULTS : Nine (75%) participants in the research group and only two (15.38%) in the control grouppresented with the likelihood
of oropharyngeal dysphagia. Apart from feeding difficulties as a result of structural impairment, the research group showed
symptoms of neurological involvement.
CONCLUSION : The research group presented with distinctive symptoms of oropharyngeal dysphagia. More studies using different
measuring tools are required to strengthen the evidence.