Cross-sectional study on the proportion of smell and taste disturbances in hospitalized COVID-19 patients

Ann Med Surg (Lond). 2021 Nov:71:102909. doi: 10.1016/j.amsu.2021.102909. Epub 2021 Oct 8.


Background: The number of confirmed Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) cases in Indonesia had reached 1.4 million cases from a total population of 270 million. Smell and/or taste disturbances are frequently found as early symptoms of COVID-19 patients. Our study aimed to investigate the proportion and characteristics of anosmia and/or ageusia in COVID-19.

Materials and methods: This cross-sectional study identifies the proportion and severity of smell and taste disturbances in COVID-19 patients. Subjects were recruited by consecutive sampling. All subjects were required to fill in the questionnaire modified from the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Anosmia Reporting Tool (AAO-HNS ART). Symptoms severity was measured with a numerical rating scale of 0-10; 0-3 is defined as mild, 4-6 as moderate, and 7-10 as severe.

Results: Out of 51 subjects, 34 (66.7%) suffered from smell and/or taste disturbances. Twenty-nine of 34 subjects (85.3%) suffered from smell disturbance, and 24 of 34 subjects (70.5%) suffered from taste disturbance. Severe smell disturbance occurred in 68.9% of subjects, while severe taste disturbance occurred in 50%. The median onset was three days for smell disturbance and four days for taste disturbance after any symptoms of COVID-19.

Conclusion: Smell and/or taste disturbances were early symptoms of COVID-19. These symptoms commonly occurred within the first four days of clinical onset and frequently manifested in severe conditions.

Keywords: Ageusia; Anosmia; COVID-19; Indonesia.