The purpose of this meta-analysis is to assess the pooled prevalence of taste disorders and their subtypes in patients with COVID-19.
PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, Embase, and Google Scholar databases were searched to identify studies published between December 1, 2019, and June 23, 2020, without language restrictions. There was no restriction on the study design; therefore, observational studies, clinical trials, and case series were included. In addition, preprints were considered if data of interest were reported.
Two authors independently screened articles for eligibility. A random effects model was used to estimate the pooled prevalence with 95% CIs. Quality assessment was done with critical appraisal tools of the Joanna Briggs Institute. The robustness of the pooled estimates was checked by subgroup and sensitivity analyses.
Fifty-nine studies were included (N = 29,349 patients, 64.4% female). The pooled prevalence of taste disorders in patients with COVID-19 was 48.1% (95% CI, 41.3%-54.8%). The prevalence of taste disorders in studies with objective assessments was higher as compared with subjective assessments (59.2% vs 47.3%). The disorders were observed in 55.2% of European patients; 61.0%, North American; 27.1%, Asian; 29.5%, South American; and 25.0%, Australian. Ageusia, hypogeusia, and dysgeusia were detected in 28.0%, 33.5%, and 41.3% of patients with COVID-19. We identified 91.5% of the included studies as high quality.
The prevalence of taste disorders in patients with COVID-19 was 48.1%. Objective assessments have higher prevalence than subjective assessments. Dysgeusia is the most common subtype, followed by ageusia and hypogeusia.
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*Asterisks indicate studies included in meta-analysis. For details, see Supplemental Table S2.