FRIDAY, May 1, 2020 (HealthDay News) — For patients with COVID-19, anosmia is strongly associated with a reduced likelihood of being admitted to the hospital, according to a study published online April 24 in the International Forum of Allergy & Rhinology.

Carol H. Yan, M.D., from the University of California San Diego Health in La Jolla, and colleagues conducted a retrospective review of 169 patients presenting to a San Diego Hospital system between March 3 and April 8, 2020, with laboratory-confirmed positive COVID-19 infection. Risk factors for hospital admission and anosmia were examined.

Olfactory and gustatory data were obtained for 75.7 percent of patients, of whom 20.1 percent (26 of 128) required hospitalization. The researchers found that admission for COVID-19 was associated with intact sense of smell and taste, increased age, diabetes, and subjective and objective parameters associated with respiratory failure. There was a strong, independent association for anosmia with outpatient care (adjusted odds ratio, 0.09 for being admitted), while positive findings of pulmonary infiltrates and/or pleural effusion on chest radiograph were strongly and independently associated with admission (adjusted odds ratio, 8.01).

“Our report is among the minority of reports focusing on mild to moderate COVID-19 in which we attempt to elucidate clinical features to differentiate between patients with mild disease who could be managed at home and ‘moderately’ sick patients who require admission and may be at risk of further clinical deterioration,” the authors write.

One author disclosed ties to the medical device industry.

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