Quantitative analysis of the olfactory system in COVID-19: An MR imaging study

Altunisik E., Baykan A. H. , Sahin S., Aydin E., Ertürk Bozkurtoğlu Ş. N.

American Journal of Neuroradiology, vol.42, no.12, pp.2207-2214, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 42 Issue: 12
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.3174/ajnr.a7278
  • Journal Name: American Journal of Neuroradiology
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, BIOSIS, Biotechnology Research Abstracts, EMBASE, MEDLINE
  • Page Numbers: pp.2207-2214
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


Copyright © 2021 by American Society of Neuroradiology.BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Anosmia or hyposmia, often accompanied by changes in taste, is recognized as a common symptom that can assist in the diagnosis of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The pathogenesis of olfactory dysfunction in COVID-19 is not yet fully understood. MR imaging represents a useful anatomic imaging method for the evaluation of olfactory dysfunction associated with varying etiologies, including viral infection, trauma, and neurodegenerative processes. This case-control study was conducted to compare quantitative measurements of olfactory anatomic structures between patients diagnosed with COVID-19 associated with persistent olfactory dysfunction and healthy controls. MATERIALS AND METHODS: This study has a retrospective design. Cranial MR imaging was performed on all participants in both the patient and control groups. The bilateral olfactory bulb volume, olfactory tract length, and olfactory sulcus depth were measured in all patients. RESULTS: A total of 116 people aged 18-60 years, including 36 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 and 80 controls, were included in the study. All measured values were compared between the patient and control groups. The right, left, and total olfactory bulb volume values were significantly lower in the patient group than in the control group. The patient group also had significantly lower right and left olfactory sulcus depth and olfactory tract length values compared with those in the control group. CONCLUSIONS: MR imaging findings can be used to demonstrate olfactory injury in patients with COVID-19. The olfactory pathway may represent an alternative route for virus entry into the central nervous system.