CMAAO Coronavirus Facts and Myth Buster: COVID Loss of Smell

With inputs from Dr Monica Vasudev

1030: Loss of smell associated with less severe COVID-19 infection: A study published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, has revealed that loss of smell seems to be an independent positive prognostic factor of less severe COVID-19 infection.

The study enrolled 949 patients with COVID-19. The patients were assessed at Rush University Medical Center from February 1, 2020, through April 3, 2020. In all, 198 (20.9%) patients reported loss of smell. Anosmia was shown to have a significant association with younger age (mean age, 46 vs 49 years; P = .02), female gender (64.7% vs 52.8%; = .003), and higher body mass index (33.6 vs 31.5; P = .001).

Anosmia had a significant association with decreased hospitalization (odds ratio [OR] = 0.69), admission to intensive care unit (OR = 0.38), intubation (OR = 0.43) and acute respiratory distress syndrome (OR = 0.45). The results continued to be significant following further adjustment for allergic rhinitis and chronic rhinosinusitis.

Loss of smell was also associated with less lymphopenia and higher albumin levels, pointing to a less severe reaction to COVID-19 in patients with smell loss when compared with those with intact smell, suggested researchers.

Mean lymphocyte count was 1.84 ± 3.69 among patients with anosmia compared to 1.11 ± 0.81 among those without smell loss (P = .001). The levels of albumin were 3.02 ± 0.83 versus 2.77 ± 0.83, respectively (P = .02). Other laboratory values and inflammatory markers had no link with anosmia.

The study also revealed a significant association between anosmia and history of pre-existing smell dysfunction (OR = 4.66), allergic rhinitis (OR = 1.79), and chronic rhinosinusitis (OR = 3.70), in comparison with patients without loss of smell. [DG Alerts Excerpts]

 

Dr KK Aggarwal

President CMAAO, HCFI and Past National President IMA

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