OBJECTIVES: To describe the characteristics, evolution and risk factors for long-term persistence of olfactory and gustatory dysfunctions (OGD) in COVID-19 outpatients . PATIENTS AND
METHODS: We conducted a prospective study in SARS-CoV-2 infected outpatients with OGD . Weekly phone interviews were set up starting from COVID-19 onset symptoms and over the course of 60 days, using standardized questionnaires that included a detailed description of general symptoms and OGD . The primary outcome was the proportion of patients with complete recovery of OGD at D30 . Rate and time to recovery of OGD, as well as risk factors for late recovery (> 30 days), were evaluated using Cox regression models .
RESULTS: Ninety-eight outpatients were included . The median time to onset of OGD after first COVID-19 symptoms was 2 days (IQR 0-4). The 30-day recovery rate from OGD was 67.5% (95% CI 57.1-75.4) and the estimated median time of OGD recovery was 20 days (95% CI 13-26). Risk factors for late recovery of OGD were a complete loss of smell or taste at diagnosis (HR=0.26 , 95% CI 0.12-0.56, p=0.0005) and age over 40 years (HR=0.56 , 95% CI 0.36-0.89, p=0.01).
CONCLUSIONS: COVID-19 patients with complete loss of smell or taste and over age 40 are more likely to develop persistent OGD and should rapidly receive sensorial rehabilitation.
Index: Anosmia, SARS-CoV-2, Smell, Taste, ageusia