From loss to recovery: how to effectively assess chemosensory impairments during COVID-19 pandemic
Antonella Di Pizio,
Michael C Farruggia,
Paule V. Joseph,
Maria Paola Cecchini,
Posted 26 Mar 2021
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.03.25.21254253
Posted 26 Mar 2021
Chemosensory impairments have been established as a specific indicator of COVID-19. They affect most patients and may persist long past the resolution of respiratory symptoms, representing an unprecedented medical challenge. Since the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic started, we now know much more about smell, taste, and chemesthesis loss associated with COVID-19. However, the temporal dynamics and characteristics of recovery are still unknown. Here, capitalizing on data from the Global Consortium for Chemosensory Research (GCCR) crowdsourced survey, we assessed chemosensory abilities after the resolution of respiratory symptoms in participants diagnosed with COVID-19 during the first wave of the pandemic in Italy. This analysis led to the identification of two patterns of chemosensory recovery, limited (partial) and substantial, which were found to be associated with differential age, degrees of chemosensory loss, and regional patterns. Uncovering the self-reported phenomenology of recovery from smell, taste, and chemesthetic disorders is the first, yet essential step, to provide healthcare professionals with the tools to take purposeful and targeted action to address chemosensory disorders and its severe discomfort.
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