Researchers at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) have unveiled a promising new approach to restoring the sense of smell in individuals who have suffered from long-COVID. Long-COVID, a condition where symptoms of COVID-19 persist for months after the initial infection, has been known to cause parosmia, a disorder that impairs the sense of smell.
According to recent studies, up to 60% of COVID-19 patients experience a distorted sense of smell, and for some, this symptom can persist for an extended period of time, severely impacting their quality of life. However, a team of researchers led by Adam C. Zoga, M.D., M.B.A., has developed a minimally invasive procedure that shows promise in treating post-COVID parosmia.
The team focused on the potential benefits of CT-guided stellate ganglion block, a procedure that involves injecting anesthetic directly into the stellate ganglion, a cluster of nerves in the neck that regulate various bodily functions. By stimulating the autonomic nervous system, which is responsible for involuntary processes such as breathing and digestion, the procedure aims to restore the sense of smell in long-COVID patients.
During the study, 54 patients with long-term post-COVID parosmia, who had previously not responded to other treatment options, received the stellate ganglion block. The results were highly promising, with the majority of patients reporting improved symptoms within one month of the procedure. Additionally, a significant number of patients experienced near 100% resolution of phantosmia, a condition where individuals detect smells that are not present in their environment.
The success of this treatment offers hope to individuals who have been grappling with the long-lasting effects of COVID-19 on their olfactory system. Further research and larger clinical trials are needed to validate these findings and determine the long-term efficacy of the procedure. However, this breakthrough brings us one step closer to providing relief to those affected by post-COVID parosmia.
What is parosmia?
Parosmia is a disorder where the sense of smell is distorted, causing individuals to perceive odors differently than they should. It is a common symptom experienced by some individuals who have had COVID-19.
How does the stellate ganglion block procedure work?
During the stellate ganglion block procedure, an anesthetic is injected directly into the stellate ganglion, a cluster of nerves located in the neck. This stimulates the autonomic nervous system, which plays a role in regulating various bodily functions. By targeting these nerves, researchers hope to restore the sense of smell in long-COVID patients.
Are there any side effects or risks associated with the procedure?
According to the study, no complications or adverse events were reported among the patients who underwent the stellate ganglion block procedure. However, further research is needed to fully evaluate the safety and long-term effects of the treatment. It is always important to consult with a healthcare professional before undergoing any medical procedure.
What is the outlook for individuals suffering from post-COVID parosmia?
The successful results of the stellate ganglion block procedure provide hope for individuals struggling with post-COVID parosmia. While more research is needed, this breakthrough offers a potential solution to restore the sense of smell in these patients and improve their overall quality of life.