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Isolated, sudden, recoverable olfactory dysfunction: a pathognomonic sign of COVID-19
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  • Aytuğ Altundağ,
  • özlem saatci,
  • Özge Arıcı Düz,
  • Oktay Ölmüşçelik,
  • Aysegul Karaaltin
Aytuğ Altundağ
Biruni Universitesi

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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özlem saatci
Sancaktepe Sehit Prof Dr Ilhan Varank Egitim ve Arastirma Hastanesi
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Özge Arıcı Düz
Istanbul Medipol University
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Oktay Ölmüşçelik
Istanbul Medipol University
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Aysegul Karaaltin
Istanbul University
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Objectives This study aimed to define the clinical features of anosmia, a symptom observed in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Methods The presence of olfactory symptoms, such as loss of smell, in COVID-19 patients and their relationship with the disease process were evaluated. Results A total of 217 patients with COVID-19 were evaluated, of which 135 patients were interviewed via phone calls. The patients were divided into four subgroups: group 1 had only olfactory complaints (isolated, sudden-onset loss of smell); group 2 had isolated, sudden-onset loss of smell, followed by typical COVID-19 complaints; group 3 initially had typical COVID-19 complaints, but gradually developed olfactory complaints; and group 4 had no olfactory complaints. In total, 59.3% of the patients had olfactory complaints. In groups 1–3, the odor scores after the disease were significantly lower than those before the disease; this decrease was more evident in groups 1 and 2 than in group 3 (p = 0.003, p = 0.000, and p = 0.014, respectively). Groups 1 and 2 had a greater loss of smell than group 3 (7.8 ± 2.1 in groups 1 and 2 vs. 6.2 ± 2.6 in group 3; p = 0.01). The odor scores completely returned to the pre-disease values in 51.2% of patients with olfactory dysfunction (41 patients); the mean duration of loss of smell was 7.1 ± 2.4 days. Conclusion Timely detection of anosmia is important in patients with COVID-19 in order to help control the spread of this highly contagious disease.