This study of olfactory impairment suggests the resulting COVID-19 disease is more likely to be mild to moderate, a potential early indicator that could help health care providers determine which patients may require hospitalization.
The authors conducted a retrospective review of 128 patients presenting to a San Diego Hospital system with laboratory‐confirmed positive Covid‐19 infection and who had an evaluation of olfactory and gustatory function and clinical disease course.
20.1% of the patients required hospitalization. Admission for Covid‐19 was associated with intact sense of smell and taste, increased age, diabetes, as well as subjective and objective parameters associated with respiratory failure. In adjusted analysis, anosmia was strongly and independently associated with outpatient care (aOR 0.09 95% CI: 0.01‐0.74) while positive findings of pulmonary infiltrates and/or pleural effusion on chest radiograph (aOR 8.01 95% CI: 1.12‐57.49) was strongly and independently associated with admission.
They conclude that normosmia is an independent predictor of admission in Covid‐19 cases but may be associated with a milder clinical course.