Comparison of self-reported symptoms and psychophysical tests in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) subjects experiencing long-term olfactory dysfunction: A 6-month follow-up study

International Forum of Allergy & RhinologyBordin A, Mucignat-Caretta C, Gaudioso P, et al. | June 22, 2021

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Researchers aimed at providing a prospective long-term assessment of COVID-19–related olfactory dysfunction (OD) using patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) and Sniffin’ Sticks (S'S) and to determine their correlation. From their Infectious Disease Department database, researchers identified a cohort of 101 consecutive COVID-19 individuals complaining of chemosensory alteration who completed the SNOT-22 and VAS for smell and taste (sVAS, tVAS: 0 represents “absent” and 10 “not affected”) within 1 week of COVID-19 diagnosis (T0). After disease recovery, 81 patients underwent further evaluation with S'S at T1 (median time 62 days [range, 41–165 days] from diagnosis). Findings suggest that for COVID-19, OD is an early marker and one of the best predictors of SARS-CoV-2 infection. According to the TDI score, 55.6% of the patients were found to be hypo/anosmic at the first olfactory evaluation (T1). Interestingly, on separately looking at the S'S subscores, a lower percentage of them had below-normal scores. This indicates the relevance of subanalysis when evaluating smell function using S'S as the sole use of identification tests for screening may underestimate the real prevalence of olfactory loss. In addition, it was noted that at T2 only, significant improvement in the discrimination and identification scores was observed when compared with T1, suggesting that the odor threshold is affected long-term.

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