Does the pattern of olfactory impairment seen in psychophysical testing reflect underlying disease etiology?
Patterns of olfactory impairment do reflect underlying disease etiology, but multicomponent olfactory testing should be used, especially if there is diagnostic uncertainty.
Explore this issue:February 2017
Background: Olfactory function is assessed clinically using psychophysical testing, where different aspects can be defined to include odor threshold, discrimination, and identification. Certain conditions lead to selective olfactory subcomponent impairment, so different disease etiologies should theoretically lead to differing patterns of olfactory impairment. However, previous work suggests that different olfactory tests actually measure a common source of variance.
Study design: Retrospective cohort analysis of 1,226 patients from 2000 to 2012 who had olfactory dysfunction due to post-infectious olfactory loss (PIOL), post-traumatic olfactory loss (PTOL), olfactory loss secondary to sinonasal disease (OLSSD), and olfactory loss secondary to Parkinson disease (OLAPD).