Comparison of the Otolaryngological Symptoms of Laboratory-Confirmed and Clinically Diagnosed COVID-19 Patients

Sisli Etfal Hastan Tip Bul. 2022 Sep 22;56(3):334-342. doi: 10.14744/SEMB.2022.99399. eCollection 2022.

Abstract

Objectives: Our aim is to determine prevalence, severity, duration of otorhinolaryngologic symptoms related to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and correlation between the test results obtained by oronasopharyngeal swab and the symptoms of these regions by evaluating differences in ear, nose, and throat (ENT) symptoms between laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patients and clinically and computed tomography (CT)-diagnosed COVID-19 patients.

Methods: The study enrolled patients with a positive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test diagnosed with COVID-19 that grouped as PCR (+), and those with repeated negative PCR tests but COVID-19 Reporting and Data System (CO-RADS) chest CT findings with high (CO-RADS 5) or very high (CO-RADS 6) similarity to COVID-19 that grouped as PCR(-)/CT(+). Demographic features, general symptoms, and otorhinolaryngological symptoms and severity of disease were evaluated and compared.

Results: The most common ENT symptoms in the PCR(+) group were loss of taste (n=77), loss of smell, and sore throat with respective frequencies of 34.5%, 31.8%, 26.0%, and in PCR(-) CT (+) group loss of taste, loss of smell, and sore throat with respective frequencies 24.6%, 21.1%, and 18.4%. ENT symptom rates were found higher in PCR (+) group (65.0%) according to PCR(-)/CT(+) group (49.1%) with statistically significant difference (p=0.008). Loss of smell rates were found higher in PCR (+) group according to PCR(-)/CT(+) group with statistically significant difference (p=0.037).

Conclusion: Loss of smell and taste were most common ENT symptoms in laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases. The presence of COVID-19 should definitely be considered in patients presenting with sudden loss of smell or taste. In addition, loss of smell and otolaryngologic symptoms were more common in laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 according to clinically and computed tomograpy diagnosed COVID-19 cases. There can be a correlation between positive sample region and symptom region. Location of symptoms must be considered for decision of sampling location.

Keywords: Anosmy; clinically diagnosed; computed chest tomography; coronavirus disease 2019; laboratory-confirmed; otolaryngological symptoms; smell loss.