Differences in velopharyngeal pressures during speech sound production in patients with unilateral cleft lip and palate (UCLP) and healthy individuals.

Simone Miller, Johanna Kallusky, Rüdiger Zimmerer, Frank Tavassol, Nils-Claudius Gellrich, Martin Ptok,Michael Jungheim

German medical science : GMS e-journal(2024)

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Background:During articulation the velopharynx needs to be opened and closed rapidly and a tight closure is needed. Based on the hypothesis that patients with cleft lip and palate (CLP) produce lower pressures in the velopharynx than healthy individuals, this study compared pressure profiles of the velopharyngeal closure during articulation of different sounds between healthy participants and patients with surgically closed unilateral CLP (UCLP) using high resolution manometry (HRM). Materials and methods:Ten healthy adult volunteers (group 1: 20-25.5 years) and ten patients with a non-syndromic surgically reconstructed UCLP (group 2: 19.1-26.9 years) were included in this study. Pressure profiles during the articulation of four sounds (/i:/, /s/, /ʃ/ and /n/) were measured by HRM. Maximum, minimum and average pressures, time intervals as well as detection of a previously described 3-phase-model were compared. Results:Both groups presented with similar pressure curves for each phoneme with regards to the phases described and pressure peaks, but differed in total pressures. An exception was noted for the sound /i:/, where a 3-phase-model could not be seen for most patients with UCLP. Differences in velopharynx pressures of 50% and more were found between the two groups. Maximum and average pressures in the production of the alveolar fricative reached statistical significance. Conclusions:It can be concluded that velopharyngeal pressures of patients with UCLP are not sufficient to eliminate nasal resonance or turbulence during articulation, especially for more complex sounds. These results support a general understanding of hypernasality during speech implying a (relative) velopharyngeal insufficiency.
nonsyndromic cleft,velopharyngeal insufficiency,high resolution manometry,articulation,cleft lip and palate,velopharyngeal function
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