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At least 27 million COVID patients may have long-term smell and taste problems

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About 5% of adults may Long

A study published today by The BMJ shows changes in their sense of smell or taste after infection with COVID-19 .

To date, there have been more than 550 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, meaning at least 15 million and 12 million adult patients may experience long-term smell and taste deficits, respectively.

Given the outsized effects of smell and taste loss, taste can have an impact on quality of life and overall health, researchers warn , which may increase the long-term COVID burden.

Changes in sense of smell and taste are common in COVID-19 patients, with an average of 40-50% globally Report these symptoms. But little is known about the clinical course of these symptoms or how many patients have persistent problems.

Addressing these gaps, an international team of researchers searched for smell or taste for research related to COVID-19 A database of adults with changes, and studies describing factors associated with these changes and recovery time.

Eighteen observational studies involving a total of 3,699 patients met their criteria. Four of the studies were conducted in community settings and 14 studies were conducted in hospital settings.

The researchers then used a mathematical technique called a healing model to estimate self-reported rates of smell and taste recovery , as well as identifying key factors related to the duration and likelihood of recovery.

They found that smell loss may persist in 5.6% of patients, while 4.4% may not regain taste. Thirty days after initial infection, only 74% of patients reported a return to smell and 79% of patients reported a return to taste.

The recovery rate increased month by month, with a peak odor of 96% and a taste of 98% after 6 months.

Compared with men, women are less likely to recover their sense of smell and taste, and the patient’s sense of smell is initially severe People with more severe loss and nasal congestion were less likely to regain their sense of smell.

A patient interviewed by the researchers reported that her sense of smell still persisted despite being more than 27 months since her first infection. Not recovered.

However, they point out that no viral variants of SARS-CoV-2 have been reported to be associated with odor or taste restoration related.

The researchers acknowledge some limitations of their analysis. For example, the included studies were of mixed quality and relied on self-reports, which they said “may overestimate recovery, suggesting a greater real burden of olfactory dysfunction.”

However, this was a well-designed study with a rigorous search methodology, and after further analysis excluding high-risk studies, the results did not change, indicating that they were steady.

Therefore, the researchers say that while most patients are expected to regain their sense of smell or taste the first time three Months, “A large group of patients may experience long-term dysfunction requiring prompt identification, individualized treatment, and long-term follow-up.”

“Our findings may have important implications for general practitioners and otolaryngologists in the post-COVID-19 consultation of patients with smell and taste disorders,” they concluded.

Health systems are not prepared for the scale of the challenge, experts warn in a linked editorial.

Health leaders, policy makers and research funders “should be aware of good chemosensing functions,” they said Of extraordinary importance to human well-being, allocate adequate resources to support chemosensory research and sustain medical professionals who face large numbers of patients with olfactory and taste dysfunction.”

More information: Prognosis and Persistence of Smell and Taste Dysfunction in COVID-19 Patients: A Meta-Analysis of Recovery Curve Parametric Healing Models, British Medical Journal (2022). DOI: 10.1136/bmj‑2021‑069503

Citation : At least 27 million COVID patients may have long-term Smell and Taste Problems (27 Jul 2022), retrieved 30 Aug 2022 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-07-million-covid-patients-long-term-problems.html

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