Research Reports - Recovery of olfactory function following pediatric traumatic brain injury

J Neurotrauma. 2015 Sep 28. [Epub ahead of print]

Bakker K(1,)(2,)(3), Catroppa C(1,)(4,)(5,)(6), Anderson V(1,)(4,)(5,)(7).

There is increasing evidence that disruption of olfactory function after
pediatric TBI is common. Olfactory dysfunction (OD) has been linked to
significant functional implications in areas of health, safety, and quality of
life, but longitudinal research investigating olfactory recovery is limited. This
study aimed to investigate recovery trajectories for olfaction following
pediatric TBI and explore predictors of early and late olfactory outcomes. The
olfactory function of 37 children with TBI, aged 8-16 years, was assessed on
average at 1.5, 8 and 18 months post injury using the University of Pennsylvania
Smell Identification Test. A significant improvement in olfactory performance was
seen over time in those with acute OD, however, only 16% of those with the most
severe OD showed recovery to normal olfactory function, with the remainder
demonstrating ongoing olfactory impairment at 18 month follow-up. Predictors of
early (0-3 month) and late (18 month) olfactory outcomes varied with occipital
site of impact a significant predictor of later olfactory performance. In
summary, while there was evidence of recovery of OD over time in pediatric TBI,
the majority of children with severe OD did not show any recovery. In light of
limited recovery of function for more severely affected children, the importance
of appropriate education and implementation of rehabilitation management
strategies is highlighted. 

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