The Prognostic Value of Olfactory Dysfunction in Patients with COVID-19: The COVIDORA Study

Life (Basel). 2024 Feb 22;14(3):293. doi: 10.3390/life14030293.


Background: Among all studies describing COVID-19 clinical features during the first wave of the pandemic, only a few retrospective studies have assessed the correlation between olfac-tory dysfunction (OD) and the evolution of disease severity. The main aim was to assess whether OD is a predictive factor of COVID-19 severity based on the patient's medical management (outpa-tient care, standard hospital admission, and ICU admission).

Methods: A national, prospective, mul-ticenter cohort study was conducted in 20 public hospitals and a public center for COVID-19 screen-ing. During the first wave of the pandemic, from 6 April to 11 May 2020, all patients tested positive for COVID-19 confirmed by RT-PCR underwent two follow-up ENT consultations within 10 days of symptom onset. The main outcome measures were the evolution of medical management (out-patient care, standard hospital admission, and ICU admission) at diagnosis and along the clinical course of COVID-19 disease.

Results: Among 481 patients included, the prevalence of OD was 60.7%, and it affected mostly female patients (74.3%) under 65 years old (92.5%), with fewer comor-bidities than patients with normal olfactory function. Here, 99.3% (290/292) of patients with OD presented with non-severe COVID-19 disease. Patients reporting OD were significantly less hospi-talized than the ones managed as outpatients, in either a standard medical unit or an ICU. Conclu-sions: As regards the clinical course of COVID-19 disease, OD could predict a decreased risk of hospitalization during the first wave of the pandemic.

Keywords: COVID-19; anosmia; diabetes; hypertension; olfactory dysfunction; parosmia; phantosmia; renal insufficiency; risk factors; taste dysfunction; tobacco.

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.