Pathogens. 2020 Jul 31;9(8):E627. doi: 10.3390/pathogens9080627.
OBJECTIVE: We investigate the prevalence of the self-reported and objective sudden loss of smell (SLS) in patients with severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
METHODS: Severe COVID-19 patients with self-reported SLS were recruited at hospitalization discharge. Epidemiological and clinical data were collected. The Sino-nasal Outcome Test-22 (SNOT-22) was used to evaluate rhinological complaints. Subjective olfactory and gustatory functions were assessed with the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHNES). Objective SLS was evaluated using psychophysical tests. Potential associations between olfactory evaluation and the clinical outcomes (duration of hospitalization; admission biology; one month serology (IgG), and chest computed tomography findings) were studied.
RESULTS: Forty-seven patients completed the study (25 females). Subjectively, eighteen (38.3%) individuals self-reported subjective partial or total SLS. Among them, only three and four were anosmic and hyposmic, respectively (38.9%). Considering the objective evaluation in the entire cohort, the prevalence of SLS was 21.3%. Elderly patients and those with diabetes had lower objective olfactory evaluation results than young and non-diabetic individuals.
CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of SLS in severe COVID-19 patients appears to be lower than previously estimated in mild-to-moderate COVID-19 forms. Future comparative studies are needed to explore the predictive value of SLS for COVID-19 severity.