Chemosensory function assessed with psychophysical testing and event-related potentials in patients with atrophic rhinitis.
ABSTRACT Atrophic rhinitis (AR) is a chronic inflammation of the nose characterized by an atrophy of the nasal mucosa. This is typically associated with an impaired sense of smell and a subjective sensation of poor nasal breathing. The aim of this study is to assess chemosensory function in patients suffering from AR using psychophysical testings and event-related potentials (ERP) responses. A cohort of nine patients was extensively studied. Eight out of nine had secondary AR sequela of a bilateral total inferior turbinectomy whereas one patient had a primary AR. All the patients had a clinical evaluation using Sniffin' Sticks test and a retro-olfaction test and an electrophysiological evaluation based upon ERPs obtained after both olfactory and trigeminal stimuli. All the patients complained of a poor nasal breathing and presented a distortion of the chemosensory function. Actually, the orthonasal psychophysical testing showed that four patients out of nine had anosmia, three out of nine had hyposmia and two out of nine were normosmic. All the patients demonstrated retro-olfaction scores inferior to the normal values. The chemosensory ERP showed that seven patients had no olfactory response whereas six had no trigeminal response. Four patients had neither olfactory nor trigeminal ERP response. In conclusion, this study demonstrates that most patients with AR secondary to a total bilateral inferior turbinectomy have a reduction of the chemosensory function measured objectively by psychophysical testings and ERP [corrected].