Cleft palate is the most common congenital deformity of the face. It could affect speech acquisition, resulting in articulation errors that could persist into adulthood. Electropalatography (EPG) has been used in speech therapy with individuals who have articulation problems that are unresponsive to "standard treatment" procedures.
To determine the effectiveness of speech intervention using electropalatography (EPG) for treating articulation errors in individuals with repaired cleft palate.
The following databases were searched: CENTRAL 2008 (Issue1), MEDLINE 1966 to March 2008, EMBASE 1974 to March 2008, CINAHL 1982 to March 2008, PsycINFO 1967 to March 2008 and eight other databases. We handsearched Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics (1987 to 2008, Issue 2), Cleft Palate Journal/Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal (1980 to 2008, Issue 1), and the International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders (1980 to 2008, Issue 1). We searched the EPG bibliography (Gibbon 2007). We reviewed reference lists of relevant articles and approached researchers to identify other possible published and unpublished studies.
Randomised controlled studies comparing EPG intervention to no treatment, delayed treatment, "standard treatment", or alternative treatment techniques for managing articulation problems associated with cleft palate in children or adults.
Data collection and analysis
One author searched the titles and abstracts and assessed trial quality. A second author checked judgements; disagreement was resolved through discussion. Three authors were available to examine any potential trials for possible inclusion in the review.
One trial using parallel design met the inclusion criteria of this review; no meta-analysis was performed. The study reported that fewer therapy sessions were needed to achieve the treatment goals for the EPG therapy and frication display method (N = 2), followed by EPG therapy (N = 2) and "standard treatment" (N = 2).
The included trial was a small-scaled study and there were serious limitations in the design and methodology (e.g. allocation concealment was unclear, blinding of outcome assessor(s) was not ensured, few quantitative outcome measures were used, and the results were not reported as planned). Therefore, the current evidence supporting the efficacy of EPG is not strong and there remains a need for high quality randomised controlled trials to be undertaken in this area.