Prospective Evaluation of Safety of Singing on Steroids: Testing the Truth of Received Wisdom.
Performing while on steroids is widely considered to increase risk of vocal injury. This study aims to determine incidence and type of injury, and changes in performers’ voices after treatment of vocal fold edema (VFE) with glucocorticoids.Prospective Cohort.Fifty-five performers (34 female; 21 male) treated for acute VFE with short-course oral glucocorticoids were prospectively evaluated pre- and post-treatment. Subjects underwent videostroboscopy, acoustic/aerodynamic assessment, and functional assessment with the Singing Voice Handicap Index-10 (SVHI-10) and Evaluation of the Ability to Sing Easily (EASE). Blinded reviewers rated videostroboscopic examinations and performed audio-perceptual assessment. Chi-square tests and Wilcoxon signed rank tests were applied for analyses of treatment changes.Following glucocorticoid treatment, two instances of vocal fold hemorrhage (3.6%) and three instances of glottic thrush (5.5%) were observed. These resolved without consequence. Mucosal wave dynamics and edema improved. Nearly all subjects completed scheduled performances, and significant improvement was noted on the EASE, reflecting improved function after treatment. These were further supported by statistically significant improvements in CAPE-V and some acoustic and aerodynamic outcomes (semitone pitch range for females, airflow measures for males).Oral glucocorticoids appear to be generally safe for performers presenting with acute VFE. The incidence of adverse effects, specifically hemorrhage and thrush, was low and the effects transient. Vocal fold examination should be considered obligatory before prescribing glucorticoids to working performers. A treatment strategy for acute VF edema incorporating glucocorticoids when appropriate appears to result in significant improvements in measures of glottal function including videostroboscopic appearance, subject perception, and auditory perception.4 Laryngoscope, 2021.
Authors: Christine Murphy Estes, Keith Chadwick, Babak Sadoughi, Katerina Andreadis, Scott Sussman, Lucian Sulica