The aim of this manuscript is to investigate transversally Ear Nose Throat (ENT) symptoms COVID-19 infection correlated and to study the neurotropism and neuroinvasiveness of the virus in the head-neck district through the investigation of the sense of smell, taste, tearing, salivation and hearing.
A total of 50 patients with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection were included in our study. For each patient we evaluated the short version of the Questionnaire of Olfactory Disorders-Negative Statements (sQOD-NS), the Summated Xerostomia Inventory-Dutch Version (SXI-DV), The Standardized Patient Evaluation of Eye Dryness (SPEED), Schirmer test I, the Hearing Handicap Inventory For Adults (HHIA) and the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI). All the tests we carried out were performed during the active phase of the symptomatology from COVID-19 (Condition A) and 15 after SARS-COV-2 RT-PCR test negative (Condition B).
A total of 46 patients (92%) had olfactory dysfunction related to the infection. The 70% of patients reported gustatory disorders. Cough, fever, headache and asthenia were the most prevalent symptoms. There was a statistically significant difference (p < 0,001) in sQOD-NS, SXI-DV, SPEED, Schirmer test, HHIA and THI between Condition A and Condition B.
In our population there was an alteration of the sense of taste, of the sense of smell, dry eyes and of the oral cavity and an auditory discomfort, symptoms probably linked to the neurotropism of the virus. Furthermore, anosmia, dysgeusia and xerostomia are early symptoms of COVID-19, which can be exploited for an early quarantine and a limitation of viral contagion.
Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Inc.