Smell impairment associated with severity of nasal symptoms in persistent allergic rhinitis

According to Argentinian researchers, there is an association between smell impairment and the severity of nasal symptoms in persistent allergic rhinitis (PAR).

Susana De Barayazarra, MD, of the Nuevo Hospital San Roque in Cordoba, Argentina, and colleagues, studied 50 patients with physician-diagnosed PAR who consulted a tertiary care medical center. Of the total, 33 (66%) were female and 17 (34%) male. The mean age was 43; there were 20 healthy volunteers. The investigators took patients’ clinical history and performed assessments of severity based on ARIA criteria; skin prick tests with mite mix, mold, and pollens; and quality of life (QOL) questionnaire for allergic rhinoconjuntivitis (Juniper RQLQ). In addition, the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) and  Connecticut Smell Test (CST) were performed in every patient.

According to Dr. De Barayazarra and colleagues, in patients with PAR, 30% had mild PAR and 70% the moderate/severe form. Forty-eight percent of the patients studied had abnormalities of smell. The investigators found an alteration of smell in 18% of mild-PAR and 60% of severe/moderate patients (P <0.006).There was no statistically significant relationship between olfactory impairment and sleep disturbance with the ESS (P <0.85), nor in the alteration of smell in patients with polyps detected at physical examination (P <0.57) or the relationship between impaired smell and smoking (P <0.36). Patients with moderate/severe PAR also had alterations in QOL. Nasal obstruction was the most important parameter (70%) associated with the QOL worsening.