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Worsening of Gastroesophageal Reflux Symptoms in Professional Singers During Performances

Cammarota, Giovanni M.D.; Elia, Fulvia M.D.; Cianci, Rossella M.D.; Galli, Jacopo M.D.; Paolillo, Nico M.D.; Montalto, Massimo M.D.; Gasbarrini, Giovanni M.D.

Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology: May-June 2003 - Volume 36 - Issue 5 - p 403–404

Professional singers perform singing tasks requiring rapid changes of subglottal pressure with consistent use of the diaphragm. They regularly activate the diaphragm when there is a need for a rapid decrease in subglottal pressure, with an abrupt and prolonged increase in intraabdominal pressure. We describe the occurrence of stress-induced gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in four professional singers. The reflux symptoms, which occurred in these patients during vocal performances, were an important obstacle to the movement of the respiratory muscles. To our knowledge, these are the first case reports of worsening of GERD symptoms in professional singers during performances.

From the Department of Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology (G.C., F.E., R.C., M.M., G.G.) and the Institute of Otorhinolaryngology (J.G., N.P.), Catholic University of Rome, Rome, Italy.

Submitted October 8, 2002. Accepted January 6, 2003.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. G. Cammarota, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Policlinico “A. Gemelli,” Istituto di Medicina Interna, Largo A. Gemelli, 8–00168, Rome, Italy. E-mail:

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.