Paderno A, et al. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2020.
OBJECTIVE: To prospectively assess the rate and timing of recovery of olfactory (OD) and gustatory (GD) dysfunction in patients affected by COVID-19.
STUDY DESIGN: Cohort study.
SETTING: Population-based evaluation in a COVID-19 high-prevalence region.
SUBJECTS AND METHODS: We analyzed the clinical course of OD and GD in a cohort of home-quarantined SARS-CoV-2-positive patients from Northern Italy. Physicians administered a survey-based questionnaire at recruitment (T0). During follow-up, patients responded to online dedicated surveys modulated according to symptoms at T0.
RESULTS: A total of 151 patients completed the follow-up survey. OD and/or GD were observed in 83% and 89% of subjects, respectively. Resolution rates of OD and GD at 30 days from onset were 87% and 82%, respectively. Risk factors for late resolution were grade of dysfunction at onset (total vs partial), gender, and presence of nasal congestion. Three (2%) patients previously reporting complete resolution of symptoms complained of subsequent recurrence of OD and/or GD after a mean of 19 days from resolution of the previous episode.
CONCLUSION: COVID-19-related OD and GD had high rate of resolution in the first month from onset of symptoms. However, in 10% to 15% of patients, these symptoms showed only partial improvement after this period.