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Keywords:

  • horse;
  • systematic review;
  • DDSP;
  • interventions;
  • efficacy

Summary

There are numerous treatments for correction of dorsal displacement of the soft palate (DDSP). However, the efficacy of these treatments is controversial and there is little consensus on how best to treat this condition. The aims of this study were to systematically review the literature and to assess the evidence on the clinical effects of interventions for dynamic intermittent DDSP. A secondary objective was to assess whether factors relating to study quality affected reported success rates. Twenty-three studies were included, covering a wide number of interventions but also differing widely is terms of study design, sample size, method of diagnosis, outcome measure and the number lost to follow-up. The assessment of adverse effects was severely limited because of lack of reporting. The way in which success is measured appears to have a great effect on the reported results. Research synthesis has been severely limited because of the heterogeneity in the included studies. The low level of evidence makes it difficult to draw firm conclusions as to the efficacy of procedures for DDSP. Hence it is currently not possible to determine which procedure is the most appropriate. This systematic review highlights the difficulties of studying palatal dysfunction and suggests areas where improvements can be made in future studies.