Research Article| Volume 37, ISSUE 3, P415-418, May 2023

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Dysphonia in Performers: Prevalence of Vocal Lesions and Voice Emergencies in a Private Otorhinolaryngology Practice

  • Andrea M. Campagnolo
    Address correspondence & reprint requests to: Andrea M. Campagnolo, Boulevard Street 28 de Setembro, 77 - Vila Isabel, Rio de Janeiro - RJ, 20551-030. Brazil.
    Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, State University of Rio de Janeiro Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro - RJ, Brazil
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  • Michael S. Benninger
    Chairman, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, Head and Neck Institute, Cleveland Clinic, 9500 Euclid Avenue, A-71, Cleveland, Ohio
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  • P Priston
    Cesgranrio University, Rua Santa Alexandrina, 1011 - Rio Comprido, Rio de Janeiro - RJ, Brazil
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  • A Assunção
    Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, State University of Rio de Janeiro Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro - RJ, Brazil
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      To determine the prevalence of abnormal laryngeal findings during videostroboscopy in performers presenting to clinic or when having an acute vocal emergency.

      Study design

      Retrospective study of professional singers and actors who presented for a vocal evaluation.

      Subjects and Methods

      A chart review of singers or professional actors who presented in a private otorhinolaryngology clinic between 2014 and 2016. The prevalence of laryngeal lesions noted on stroboscopy were reviewed. The RFS (reflux finding score) was calculated and the exams that presented RFS greater than or equal to seven were considered suspicious of laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR).


      A total of 140 records of actors and singers were evaluated either for routine evaluation or for an acute emergency. Sulcus vocalis was the most prevalent lesion 36% (n = 33), followed by cyst 27% (n = 25) and acute laryngitis, 14% (n = 13). Thirty-seven (26.4%) performers were treated for emergence due to dysphonia, Emergency dysphonia, mostly due to viral infection, was treated with steroids and speech therapy, with improvement of symptoms after treatment. Of these professionals, 83.8% (31) presented with a structural lesion or infection in the vocal folds, while 16.2% presented with dysphonia, which required emergency care without a structural lesion in the vocal folds. (P<0.05) Eighty-nine percent (33) of the professionals presenting with a voice emergency with dysphonia (37) were treated with corticosteroids. Thirty-three percent (n = 47) of the professionals presented with RFS scores ≥7. Nineteen professionals (40%) with signs of LPR were treated for emergency due to dysphonia. The professionals with signs of LPR had more emergency dysphonia than those who did not suspect LPR. (19.4%) (P = 0.008).


      Vocal emergencies in professionals are common in a private laryngology practice and require specialized assessment. The most prevalent lesions in the study were vocal sulcus. LPR is common in this group as noted both by findings with videostroboscopy and the RFS

      Key Words

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