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Most Patients Regain Taste, Smell Following COVID-19

However, roughly 10 percent of pre-omicron COVID-19 patients report recovery took more than six months

TUESDAY, Aug. 9, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Nearly nine in 10 patients reporting a COVID-19-related smell or taste dysfunction completely recovered within two years, although recovery took more than six months for 10.9 percent of patients, according to a research letter published online Aug. 4 in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

Paolo Boscolo-Rizzo, M.D., from University of Padova in Italy, and colleagues estimated the two-year prevalence and recovery rate of smell or taste dysfunction among mildly symptomatic adult patients (168) at onset, four weeks, eight weeks, six months, and two years after COVID-19 (pre-omicron).

The researchers found that 64.3 percent reported an altered sense of smell or taste (Sino-nasal Outcome Test 22 score >0) at baseline, 38.1 percent at four weeks, 17.3 percent at eight weeks, 16.1 percent at six months, and 8.3 percent at two years. Complete resolution of COVID-19-associated smell or taste dysfunction (onset within four weeks of infection; 119 patients) occurred in 88.2 percent of individuals, while 9.2 percent reported a decrease in the severity, and 2.5 percent reported the symptom was unchanged or worse. A late recovery (more than six months after the onset) was reported by 10.9 percent of patients. The persistence of at least one symptom, including nonchemosensory symptoms, at two-year follow-up was reported by 28.0 percent of patients.

“Patients should be reassured that recovery from smell or taste impairment may continue for many months after the onset,” the authors write.

Abstract/Full Text

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