Potential Influence of Olfactory, Gustatory, and Pharyngolaryngeal Sensory Dysfunctions on Swallowing Physiology in COVID-19

Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2021 Jun;164(6):1134-1135. doi: 10.1177/0194599820972680. Epub 2020 Nov 10.


Persistent smell and taste disorders have been reported as some of the most common symptoms after COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019). Sensory, olfactory, and gustatory functions perform an important role in the initiation and modulation of oropharyngeal swallow biomechanics and salivation as well as in mealtime enjoyment and appetite. Yet, the details of this interaction remain relatively unknown in patients who are infected with and recovering from COVID-19. In this commentary, we discuss the possible impacts of SARS-CoV-2 on the central and peripheral nervous system and consider the pathophysiology of olfactory, gustatory, and pharyngolaryngeal sensory deficits and its influence on deglutition, describing hypotheses and offering guidance for future research.

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; deglutition disorders; sensory; smell; taste.

Publication types

  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Deglutition
  • Humans
  • Olfaction Disorders*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Smell
  • Taste Disorders