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Clinical features of olfactory disorders in patients seeking medical consultation

Guowei Chen, Yongxiang Wei, Xutao Miao, Kunyan Li, Yuanyuan Ren, Jia Liu

Med Sci Monit 2013; 19:444-450

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.883938

Available online:

Published: 2013-06-10

Background: Olfactory disorders are common complaints in ENT clinics. We investigated causes and relevant features of olfactory disorders and the need for gustatory testing in patients with olfactory dysfunction.
Material and Methods: A total of 140 patients seeking medical consultations were enrolled. All patients were asked about their olfactory disorders in a structured interview of medical history and underwent thorough otolaryngologic examinations and imaging of the head.
Results: Causes of olfactory disorders were classified as: upper respiratory tract infection (URTI), sinonasal diseases (NSD), head trauma, idiopathic, endoscopic sinus surgery, congenital anosmia, and other causes. Each of the various causes of olfactory dysfunction had its own distinct clinical features. Nineteen of 54 patients whose gustation was assessed had gustatory disorders.
Conclusions: The leading causes of olfactory dysfunction were URTI, NSD, head trauma, and idiopathic causes. Gustatory disorders were fairly common in patients with olfactory dysfunction. High priority should be given to complaints of olfactory disorders.

Keywords: Referral and Consultation, Prevalence, Olfaction Disorders - pathology, China - epidemiology, Age Factors, Adult, Adolescent, Sex Characteristics, Taste Disorders - pathology, young adult