COVID-19 anosmia and gustatory symptoms as a prognosis factor: a subanalysis of the HOPE COVID-19 (Health Outcome Predictive Evaluation for COVID-19) registry

Infection. 2021 Mar 1;1-8. doi: 10.1007/s15010-021-01587-9. Online ahead of print.


Olfactory and gustatory dysfunctions (OGD) are a frequent symptom of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). It has been proposed that the neuroinvasive potential of the novel SARS-CoV-2 could be due to olfactory bulb invasion, conversely studies suggest it could be a good prognostic factor. The aim of the current study was to investigate the prognosis value of OGD in COVID-19. These symptoms were recorded on admission from a cohort study of 5868 patients with confirmed or highly suspected COVID-19 infection included in the multicenter international HOPE Registry (NCT04334291). There was statistical relation in multivariate analysis for OGD in gender, more frequent in female 12.41% vs 8.67% in male, related to age, more frequent under 65 years, presence of hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes, smoke, renal insufficiency, lung, heart, cancer and neurological disease. We did not find statistical differences in pregnant (p = 0.505), patient suffering cognitive (p = 0.484), liver (p = 0.1) or immune disease (p = 0.32). There was inverse relation (protective) between OGD and prone positioning (0.005) and death (< 0.0001), but no with ICU (0.165) or mechanical ventilation (0.292). On univariable logistic regression, OGD was found to be inversely related to death in COVID-19 patients. The odds ratio was 0.26 (0.15-0.44) (p < 0.001) and Z was - 5.05. The presence of anosmia is fundamental in the diagnosis of SARS.CoV-2 infection, but also could be important in classifying patients and in therapeutic decisions. Even more knowing that it is an early symptom of the disease. Knowing that other situations as being Afro-American or Latino-American, hypertension, renal insufficiency, or increase of C-reactive protein (CRP) imply a worse prognosis we can make a clinical score to estimate the vital prognosis of the patient. The exact pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 that causes olfactory and gustative disorders remains unknown but seems related to the prognosis. This point is fundamental, insomuch as could be a plausible way to find a treatment.

Keywords: Anosmia; COVID-19; Hospital; Pathophysiology; Prognosis; SARS-COV-2.