Lechien JR, et al. J Voice 2020.
INTRODUCTION: To explore the prevalence of dysphonia in European patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 and the clinical features of dysphonic patients.
METHODS: The clinical and epidemiological data of 702 patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 were collected from 19 European Hospitals. The following data were extracted: age, sex, ethnicity, tobacco consumption, comorbidities, general, and otolaryngological symptoms. Dysphonia and otolaryngological symptoms were self-assessed through a 4-point scale. The prevalence of dysphonia, as part of the COVID-19 symptoms, was assessed. The outcomes were compared between dysphonic and nondysphonic patients. The association between dysphonia severity and outcomes was studied through Bayesian analysis.
RESULTS: A total of 188 patients were dysphonic, accounting for 26.8% of cases. Females developed more frequently dysphonia than males (P = 0.022). The proportion of smokers was significantly higher in the dysphonic group (P = 0.042). The prevalence of the following symptoms was higher in dysphonic patients compared with nondysphonic patients: cough, chest pain, sticky sputum, arthralgia, diarrhea, headache, fatigue, nausea, and vomiting. The severity of dyspnea, dysphagia, ear pain, face pain, throat pain, and nasal obstruction was higher in dysphonic group compared with nondysphonic group. There were significant associations between the severity of dysphonia, dysphagia, and cough.
CONCLUSION: Dysphonia may be encountered in a quarter of patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 and should be considered as a symptom list of the infection. Dysphonic COVID-19 patients are more symptomatic than nondysphonic individuals. Future studies are needed to investigate the relevance of dysphonia in the COVID-19 clinical presentation.