The effect of post-COVID-19 on gustatory and olfactory function: A preliminary case-controlled study

Dror Livni, Osnat Grinstein-Koren, Ayelet Zlotogorski-Hurvitz, Shoshana Reiter, Orit Winocour-Arias, Jeremy Edel, Yuli Goldman, Marilena Vered, Guy Choshen, Daniella Rahamim-Cohen, Shirley Shapiro-Ben David, Ilana Kaplan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims: The aim of the study was to analyze objective and subjective olfactory/gustatory function in post-COVID-19 infection (PCI). Materials and Methods: Patients with past PCR-confirmed COVID-19 infection and persistent olfactory/gustatory complaints were investigated. Olfactory threshold and identification, gustatory detection, identification, and magnitude scaling were tested. Results: A total of 42 PCI subjects were compared to 41 age- and gender-matched controls with no COVID-19 history. All PCI tested had mild COVID-19 disease. Mean interval between COVID-19 confirmations to testing was 7.4 ± 3.1 months. PCI subjects complained of combined dysfunction in 85.7%, isolated olfactory or gustatory dysfunction in 7.1% each. Combined complaints were significantly higher in PCI (p < 0.001). Objective testing showed significantly higher prevalence of dysfunction in PCI versus controls for hyposmia (73.8%, 12.2%), anosmia (11.9%, 0%), odor identification (68.5%, 83.0%), hypogeusia (23% and 2.4%, respectively), and impaired magnitude scaling, (p < 0.05). All PCI subjects with hypogeusia had abnormal gustatory magnitude scaling. Conclusions: While most PCI subjects complained of combined gustatory and olfactory dysfunction, objective testing showed in the majority an isolated single sense dysfunction, with a low level of agreement between subjective and objective findings. Abnormal objective results for all olfactory and gustatory functions tested may suggest a central rather than peripheral mechanism, although concomitant mechanisms cannot be excluded.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1669-1679
Number of pages11
JournalOral Diseases
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2024


  • COVID-19
  • dysfunction
  • gustatory
  • olfactory

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Dentistry
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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