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Year : 2023  |  Volume : 25  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 12-17

Olfactory dysfunction during the COVID-19 era: Prevalence and prognosis for recovery of sense of smell, Eastern region, Saudi Arabia

1 Otorhinolaryngology Unit, Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, King Faisal University, Hofuf, Saudi Arabia
2 Medical Intern, College of Medicine, King Faisal University, Hofuf, Saudi Arabia
3 Medical Student, College of Medicine, King Faisal University, Hofuf, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Ms. Fatema Mohammed Alhelal
College of Medicine, King Faisal University, Hofuf
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/sjoh.sjoh_60_22

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Objective: There is a strong association between the onset of COVID-19 and olfactory dysfunction (OD) during infection or postinfection as a complication. This study is dedicated to measuring the prevalence of olfactory impairment and its clinical course among patients after COVID-19 infection. Methodology: A cross-sectional study was performed on patients with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection. All participants had completed a validated questionnaire to evaluate the clinical course of OD. Results: Among the 305 participants, 138 reported sudden loss of smell. The mean time between the confirmation of COVID-19 and the onset of OD was 3.59 days. Olfactory impairment, accompanied by other symptoms prior to loss of smell, was reported in 67 participants and as an isolated disorder in 21 participants. Those affected reported nasal obstruction before loss of smell. A total of 138 participants complained of persistence of loss of smell even after the resolution of other symptoms. There is not a statistically significant relationship between the time of loss of smell relative to the confirmation of COVID-19 and the time of resolution of OD. In terms of gender, the prevalence of OD is equal among males and females, and results showed no significant relationship between them. Conclusions: The prevalence of OD is considered a complication among patients with COVID-19. The prognosis for spontaneous recovery from OD is favorable. Due to the lack of an objective measure for olfactory testing, further studies are needed to objectively measure the alteration of the smell.

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