Sinus surgeon Nicholas Rowan discusses the importance of smell and taste dysfunction for patients and how it relates to frailty. A review of a nationally representative patient cohort revealed an increased risk for frailty among patients with smell and taste dysfunction. While causality was not assessed, these two indicators may serve as a novel marker for risk and vulnerability in our patient population.
mm Hi there. My name is Nick role in an assistant professor within the department of otolaryngology, head and neck surgery. I feel privileged to be able to discuss with you today, a recent publication we had regarding the importance of smell and taste function for our patients and how outrageous the patient frailty This subject area cannot be more important amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, this topic will remain critical even long after the current pandemic has ended. As many of us know, smell and taste are vital to the perception and experience of human daily life disruption. Of these two unique human sensory functions are associated with broad and significant implications for our patients. And as we've seen in many of our patients, certain sequel of smell and taste loss are relatively benign and patients quickly acclimated these changes. However, in certain instances there are more substantial and well described clinical correlations between smell and taste changes with broad measures of quality of life, nutritional deficits, ranges of depression, anxiety, cognitive neurologic function or even patient mortality. And though smell and taste dysfunction appear to serve as an excellent marker for many of these medical comorbidities. There's a large body of literature and field of study that we, as ordinary oncologists and clinicians in general do not discuss necessary in our daily practice. That's the field of frailty. So what is frailty frailty is a clinical state is characterized by reduced physiologic reserve and resistance to stressors. Frailty is well correlated, worse health outcomes, increased health care utilization and increased patient mortality in the setting of an increasingly aging population. This concept is ever more relevant and represents a serious public health concern. Understanding the ideology and the risk factors of patient frailty are critical for the prevention and management of this condition amid a growing body of literature. The sense of smell in the sense of taste may offer unique insight into the identification and potentially even the mitigation of patient frailty. Using a nationally representative cohort recently demonstrated that both smell and taste loss are strong and independent risk factors for patient frailty and mortality. Even after controlling for many medical comorbidities based on these data, patients with changes involved their self reported and they're measured sense of smell and taste had upwards of a 2 to 4 times risk increase of patient frailty. And though our study was not designed to assess causality and more work needs to be done, it is apparent that changes in the sense of smell and taste are important to patients in their everyday life, but may also serve as a novel marker for risk and vulnerability in our patient population amid the ongoing pandemic, in which we will continue to see patients with smell and taste issues. It will be important to keep these concepts at the forefront of our mind and something that we will continue to investigate closely here at johns Hopkins. Thank you for your time and your attention.