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Does imaging of the olfactory tract change the clinical management of patients with olfactory disturbance? A case series of 100 consecutive patients

Lookup NU author(s): Jason PowellORCiD, Mohamed Elbadawey, Dr Ivan Zammit-Maempel


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Background: Isolated olfactory dysfunction is a common complaint; the vast majority of cases are benign and untreatable. A common dilemma is whether to image the olfactory tract of affected patients.Methods: A case review of 100 consecutive patients who underwent magnetic resonance imaging for the primary complaint of olfactory dysfunction was performed. Patients with a diagnosis of chronic rhinosinusitis, with or without nasal polyps, were excluded.Results: Magnetic resonance imaging abnormalities that were considered clinically relevant to the presentation of olfactory dysfunction were found in only seven patients (7 per cent). Of these, only one patient (1 per cent) had an abnormality found that altered their clinical management. A comparison of the findings for children (less than 16 years old, n = 5) with those for adults (equal to or more than 16 years old, n = 95) revealed that 4 per cent of adults scanned had olfactory-related pathology diagnosed, as opposed to 60 per cent of children.Conclusion: Cross-sectional imaging may not be necessary in most patients with olfactory dysfunction. Imaging adds little to the patient history and clinical examination findings.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Powell J, Elbadawey MR, Zammit-Maempel I

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Laryngology & Otology

Year: 2014

Volume: 128

Issue: 9

Pages: 810-813

Print publication date: 01/09/2014

Online publication date: 27/08/2014

Acceptance date: 15/01/2014

ISSN (print): 0022-2151

ISSN (electronic): 1748-5460

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1017/S0022215114001625


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