They manage to restore smell to a small group of patients with persistent covid
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A team of researchers has achieved restore the sense of smell for the first time to a small group of patients with persistent covid, through a procedure ten minute “minimally invasive” image guided.
The new method, which includes an injection, will be presented next week at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).
The parosmia, a condition in which the sense of smell stops working properly, is a symptom of covid-19.
Approximatelyand 60% of patients have suffered it and although the majority recovered their sense of smell, in some patients with persistent covid, The problem persists for months, or even years, which has a negative impact on their appetite and quality of life.
“The post-covid parosmia It is frequent and increasingly recognized. Patients may develop aversions to foods and drinks that they previously enjoyed,” explains the study’s lead author, Adam C. Zoga, professor at Jefferson Health in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Additionally, having an altered sense of smell can affect perception of odors, and some patients may suffer phantosmia, a “olfactory hallucination” which causes people to detect odors that do not exist.
To evaluate a possible treatment, the team studied the benefits of blocking to the stellate ganglia.
These ganglia, which are part of the autonomic nervous system that regulates involuntary processes such as heart rate, blood pressure, breathing and digestion, are nerves located on both sides of the neck that send certain signals to the head, neck, arms and part of the thorax.
The team blocked the stellate ganglion injecting an anesthetic directly into the side of the neck to to stimulate the regional autonomic nervous system.
This procedure, which is minimally invasive, lasts less than 10 minutes and does not require sedation or analgesia, it has been used with more or less success to treat various conditions, such as cluster headaches, phantom limb pain, Raynaud and Meniere syndromes, angina pectoris, and cardiac arrhythmia.
“Parosmia has previously been described as a rare disorder that occurs after brain trauma, brain surgery, stroke, viral syndromes and with some head and neck tumors,” Zoga said. “We weren’t totally sure the procedure would work for parosmia.”
The study recruited 54 patients with postcovid parosmia in which all available therapies had failed, and followed up on 37 of them.
Through a computed tomography, The scientists placed a spinal needle at the base of the neck for injection into the stellate ganglion and added a small dose of corticosteroid to the anesthetic.
“The initial patient had a tremendously positive result, almost immediately, with continued improvement to the point of resolution of symptoms at four weeks,” Zoga said.
After the injection, monitoring of 37 patients(65%); Of these, 22 improved symptoms in less than a week and of these 22, 18 reported significant progressive improvement one month later.
After three months, there was a average symptom improvement of 49% (range 10% to 100%) among the 22 patients.
26 patients returned for a second injection given on the other side (contralateral) of the neck, about six weeks later.
Although The second injection was not effective in patients who did not respond to the first, 86% of patients who reported some improvement after the first injection they had additional improvement after the contralateral injection and no complications or adverse effects were recorded.
To date, all treatments have failed but this injection “works”, Zoga concluded.