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Clinical factors associated with lower health scores in COVID-19-related persistent olfactory dysfunction.

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Patients with persistent COVID-19 olfactory dysfunction (OD) commonly report parosmia. Understanding the impact of COVID-19 OD and parosmia is critical to prioritizing research and interventions. In this study we investigate the impact of parosmia and other clinical and disease characteristics on health state utility values (HUVs) for those with persistent COVID-19 OD.


Patients with a history of COVID-19 diagnosis and persistent OD were recruited from a tertiary medical center and a social media support forum for chemosensory dysfunction. Clinical characteristics and disease-specific symptoms were obtained along with self-reported history of smell function and presence of parosmia. HUVs were calculated using indirect (EuroQol 5-Dimension [EQ-5D]) and direct (VAS) measures.


Our study included 286 subjects (75.52% women) with persistent COVID-19-related OD. Results (mean ± standard deviation) of HUVs based on EQ-5D and VAS were 0.81 ± 0.14 and 0.73 ± 0.21, respectively. Mean self-reported smell function (on a 0-10 scale) was 9.67 ± 1.25 pre-COVID-19, 0.93 ± 2.34 at diagnosis, and 3.39 ± 2.32 at most current assessment. A total of 89.16% of the subjects reported parosmia and 24.13% sought medical care for anosmia. Seeing an MD for OD (p < 0.001), female gender (EQ-5D only, p = 0.002), a history of chronic pain (p < 0.05) and depression/anxiety (EQ-5D only, p < 0.001) predicted worse health. Parosmia and persistent symptoms, such as shortness of breath, were associated with lower EQ-5D and VAS scores, but did not independently predict poorer health scores on multivariable analysis.


Persistent COVID-19 OD results in health states comparable to other chronic diseases.

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