Anosmia

S. David Shahbodaghi, MD, MPH and Scott P. Grogan, DO, MBA, FAAFP Reviewed 06/2017
 


BASICS

DESCRIPTION

  • Anosmia is defined as the inability to detect odors. This can be temporary or permanent depending on the underlying pathology.

  • The sense of smell is necessary in determining the flavo...

DIAGNOSIS

HISTORY

  • History of present illness should investigate the time course of symptoms and their relation to any URI or head injury. Important associated symptoms include nasal congestion, rhinorr...

TREATMENT

Treatment depends upon the underlying pathology: 
  • Elimination of toxins (tobacco, household cleaning chemicals) (3)[C]

  • Sinus conditions should be managed initially with saline lavage, deconges...

ONGOING CARE

PATIENT TEACHING

  • Counsel patients on safety issues that may arise from the inability to detect odors. These include reading expiration dates on foods, ensuring household smoke detectors ar...

REFERENCES

Pinto JM. Olfaction. Proc Am Thorac Soc.  2011;8(1):46–52. [View Abstract on OvidInsights]
Godoy MD, Voegels RL, Pinna Fde R et al. Olfaction in neurologic and neurodegenerative disea...

ADDITIONAL READING

  • Sánchez-Vallecillo MV, Fraire ME, Baena-Cagnani C et al. Olfactory dysfunction in patients with chronic rhinosinusitis. Int J Otolaryngol.  2012;2012:327206. [View Abstract on ...

CODES

ICD10

  • R43.0 Anosmia

  • J39.8 Other specified diseases of upper respiratory tract

ICD9

  • 781.1 Disturbances of sensation of smell and taste

  • 951.8 Injury to other specified cranial nerves

  • 478.9 Other and uns...

PEARLS

  • Advancing age is the greatest risk factor associated with a decline in olfaction; however, this is a diagnosis of exclusion and other causes must be ruled out. (3)

  • Red flags include previous hea...

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