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Vocal Fold Hemorrhage Not as Harmful as Commonly Thought, Parker Institute Study Shows

A Sean Parker Institute study published in the April 2017 issue of The Laryngoscope ( shows that the probability of long-term voice damage after vocal fold hemorrhage is much lower than is commonly thought. Vocal fold hemorrhage has long been considered to have high potential for vocal fold scar and permanent voice damage. For this reason, it is much feared as a “career-ender” among singers. In a comparison of 41 patients who had had hemorrhage to similar patients who did not, the study found no difference in patients’ vocal capabilities an average of 3.5 years later. In no case had anyone changed careers because of a voice issue. The occurrence of repeated vocal fold hemorrhages did not have a more severe effect. “It appears that the harm from vocal fold hemorrhage has been considerably overstated,” said Lucian Sulica, MD, senior author of the study. “ We are glad to have data with which to reassure patients that their singing voices are not at grave risk,” he added, “It makes it much easier to counsel them effectively when any misplaced anxiety can be removed.”
Vocal fold hemorrhage remains important, however, because the downtime required for recovery makes it impossible to perform. When hemorrhage happens repeatedly, this can be considerable. Risk factors for repeated hemorrhage have been the subject of previous Institute research.

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