Post-traumatic taste disorders: a case series

J Neurol. 2018 Apr;265(4):836-844. doi: 10.1007/s00415-018-8776-0. Epub 2018 Feb 5.


Since 1800s there are reports of post-traumatic anosmia, but few studies investigated post-traumatic gustatory deficit and adopted validated evaluation tests. Peripheral and/or central mechanisms may be involved in the genesis of post-traumatic gustatory dysfunction. Beyond a reduction/loss (hypogeusia/ageusia) of gustatory function following a trauma, qualitative taste changes (dysgeusia) may occur. Especially when persistent, taste deficits might be particularly relevant for patient's quality of life and activities of daily life, but knowledge on this topic is limited. Fifty-three consecutive patients with previous head trauma were recruited. Every patient underwent a careful history taking and thorough olfactory and gustatory chemosensory testing by Sniffin'Sticks Extended test, Whole Mouth Test and Taste Strips Test. All patients had olfactory abnormalities (hyposmia: n = 10, functional anosmia: n = 43), while 10 of them (19%) showed taste deficits (dysgeusia: n = 3, dysgeusia with hypogeusia: n = 1, hypogeusia: n = 5, ageusia: n = 1). Here, we report clinical and neuroimaging data and detailed description of four meaningful cases representing central and peripheral injury patterns. Chemosensory evaluation might be useful to explore taste disorder, a still neglected and underestimated sequela of head trauma.

Keywords: Anatomical correlation; Anosmia; Head trauma; Olfaction; Taste.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / complications*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Olfaction Disorders / diagnostic imaging
  • Olfaction Disorders / etiology
  • Taste Disorders / classification
  • Taste Disorders / diagnostic imaging
  • Taste Disorders / etiology*
  • Young Adult