Long-Term COVID-19 Smell and Taste Disorders Differ Significantly from Other Post-Infectious Cases

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INTRODUCTION: COVID-19 is causing a wide range of clinical manifestations. Severe complications and long-lasting sequelae have been identified. Thus, olfactory disorders are reported in up to 86% of cases in mild and moderate COVID-19 infections. We present the first study comparing simple and complex post-COVID-19 cases with matched non-COVID-19 post-infectious smell and taste disorders.

METHODS: A total of 328 patients were recruited from the University Clinic for Flavour, Balance and Sleep, Ear-nose-throat Department, Goedstrup Hospital, Denmark. A non-COVID -19 post-infectious population of 148 individuals was identified from the Redcap database, and was matched by duration of smell and taste disorders. Post-COVID-19 patients were divided into 99 patients with simple smell and taste disorders (only suffering from smell and taste disorders after COVID-19); and (81 patients with complex smell and taste disorder plus several other post-COVID-19 complaints). Besides patient-reported outcome measures (PROM) questionnaires and quality of life score (QoL), ear-nose-throat examination, Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), orthonasal smell test (Sniffing's sticks), retronasal quick test, and taste screening were performed.

RESULTS: Cases with post-COVID-19-related smell and taste disorders deviated from non-COVID-19 post-infectious cases; the patients were younger, had a lower occurrence of anosmia/ageusia, and had higher overall smell test scores. In contrast, patients with post-COVID-19-related smell and taste disorders more frequently complained of distorted senses. Parosmia and phantosmia were more prevalent among patients with simple post-COVID-19 complaints than among complex cases and their QoL were more negatively affected.

CONCLUSION: Smell and taste function differ significantly between post-COVID-19 and other non-COVID-19 post-viral cases.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: 3 Laryngoscope, 2022.

TidsskriftThe Laryngoscope
StatusUdgivet - jan. 2023

Bibliografisk note

© 2022 The Authors. The Laryngoscope published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of The American Laryngological, Rhinological and Otological Society, Inc.


  • Lugtesans, covid-19, COVID-19 outcomes and sequelae

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