J Korean Med Sci.  2020 Oct;35(41):e375. 10.3346/jkms.2020.35.e375.

Trend of Olfactory and Gustatory Dysfunction in COVID-19 Patients in a Quarantine Facility

Affiliations
  • 1Division of Rhinology and Sleep Medicine, Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Korea University Ansan Hospital, Korea University College of Medicine, Ansan, Korea
  • 2Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, Korea University Ansan Hospital, Korea University College of Medicine, Ansan, Korea
  • 3Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, Korea University Anam Hospital, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea

Abstract

Background
Olfactory and gustatory dysfunction has been reported as characteristic symptoms of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). This study evaluated olfactory and gustatory dysfunction in mild COVID-19 patients using validated assessment methods.
Methods
A prospective surveillance study was conducted for mild COVID-19 patients who were isolated at the Gyeonggi International Living and Treatment Support Center (LTSC), Korea. Olfactory function was assessed using the Korean version of the Questionnaire of Olfactory Disorders (QOD) and Cross-Cultural Smell Identification Test (CC-SIT). Gustatory function was assessed using an 11-point Likert scale and 6-n-propylthiouracil, phenylthiocarbamide, and control strips. All patients underwent nasal and oral cavity endoscopic examination.
Results
Of the 62 patients at the LTSC, 15 patients (24.2%) complained of olfactory or gustatory dysfunction on admission. Four of 10 patients who underwent functional evaluation did not have general symptoms and 2 were asymptomatic. The mean short version of QOD-negative statements and QOD-visual analogue scale scores were 13 ± 6 and 4.7 ± 3.6, respectively. The mean CC-SIT score was 8 ± 2. No patients showed anatomical abnormalities associated with olfactory dysfunction on endoscopic examination. The mean Likert scale score for function was 8 ± 2, and there were no abnormal lesions in the oral cavity of any patient.
Conclusions
The prevalence of olfactory and gustatory dysfunction was 24.2% in mild COVID-19 patients. All patients had hyposmia due to sensorineural olfactory dysfunction, which was confirmed using validated olfactory and gustatory evaluation methods and endoscopic examination. Olfactory and gustatory dysfunction may be characteristic indicators of mild COVID-19.

Keyword

COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; Olfaction Disorders; Taste Disorders
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