Reflux symptoms in professional opera soloists

Marco Vincenzo Lenti, Giovanni Cammarota, Francesca Vidali, Giovanna Masala, Benedetta Bendinelli, Giovanni Gasbarrini, Gino Roberto Corazza, Antonio Di Sabatino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Professions distinguished by repeated vocal stress carry a high risk of developing gastroesophageal reflux symptoms (GERS) which may affect vocal performance. Aims: To investigate the prevalence of self-reported GERS in professional opera soloists. Methods: A validated questionnaire regarding self-reported GERS (heartburn, regurgitation, chest pain, dysphagia, hoarseness, and cough) and lifestyle habits was administered to 116 professional opera soloists (mean age 34.1 ± 7.3 years, F:M ratio 1:1.1). Age and sex-matched opera choristers and control subjects were used as control. Prevalence rate ratios (PRRs) adjusted for confounding factors were evaluated. Results: Among GERS, belching (33.6%), heartburn (19.8%), and dysphagia (15.5%) were the most commonly reported by soloists. In particular, a higher risk of heartburn (PRR 2.61, 95% CI 1.45–4.69) and dysphagia (PRR 2.58, 95% CI 1.31–5.10) was reported in soloists as compared to choristers. The prevalence of obesity and late dinner was higher in both choristers and soloists in comparison to the population sample (p < 0.001). GERS was more common among soloists who received pharmacologic treatment and their prevalence was unrelated to the years of singing activity. Conclusions: Professional opera soloists, regardless of the length of their career, are predisposed to developing GERS. Physicians should encourage patients to correct preventable risk factors. A prolonged pharmacological treatment might be needed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDigestive and Liver Disease
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018


  • Heartburn
  • Regurgitation
  • Singer
  • Voice types

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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