Development and Validation of a Novel At-home Smell Assessment

Shruti Gupta, Dorina Kallogjeri, Nyssa F. Farrell, Jake J. Lee, Harrison J. Smith, Amish M. Khan, Jay Piccirillo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Importance: Current tools for diagnosis of olfactory dysfunction (OD) are costly, time-consuming, and often require clinician administration. Objective: To develop and validate a simple screening assessment for OD using common household items. Design, Setting, and Participants: This fully virtual diagnostic study included adults with self-reported OD from any cause throughout the US. Data were collected from December 2020 to April 2021 and analyzed from May 2021 to July 2021. Main Outcomes and Measures: Participants with self-reported olfactory dysfunction took a survey assessing smell perception of 45 household items and completed the Clinical Global Impression-Severity (CGI-S) smell questionnaire, the University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test (UPSIT), and the 36-item Short Form Survey (SF-36). Psychometric and clinimetric analyses were used to consolidate 45 household items into 2 short Novel Anosmia Screening at Leisure (NASAL) assessments, NASAL-7 (range, 0-14; lower score indicating greater anosmia) and NASAL-3 (range, 0-6; lower score indicating greater anosmia). Results: A total of 115 participants were included in the study, with a median (range) age of 42 (19-70) years, 92 (80%) women, and 97 (84%) White individuals. There was a moderate correlation between the UPSIT and NASAL-7 scores and NASAL-3 scores (NASAL-7: ρ = 0.484; NASAL-3: ρ = 0.404). Both NASAL-7 and NASAL-3 had moderate accuracy in identifying participants with anosmia as defined by UPSIT (NASAL-7 area under the receiver operating curve [AUC], 0.706; 95% CI, 0.551-0.862; NASAL-3 AUC, 0.658; 95% CI, 0.503-0.814). Scoring 7 or less on the NASAL-7 had 70% (95% CI, 48%-86%) sensitivity and 53% (95% CI, 43%-63%) specificity in discriminating participants with anosmia from participants without. Scoring 2 or less on the NASAL-3 had 57% (95% CI, 36%-76%) sensitivity and 78% (95% CI, 69%-85%) specificity in discriminating participants with anosmia from participants without. There was moderate agreement between UPSIT-defined OD categories and those defined by NASAL-7 (weighted κ = 0.496; 95% CI, 0.343-0.649) and those defined by NASAL-3 (weighted κ = 0.365; 95% CI, 0.187-0.543). The agreement with self-reported severity of olfactory dysfunction as measured by CGI-S and the NASAL-7 and NASAL-3 was moderate, with a weighted κ of 0.590 (95% CI, 0.474-0.707) for the NASAL-7 and 0.597 (95% CI, 0.481-0.712) for the NASAL-3. Conclusion and Relevance: The findings of this diagnostic study suggest that NASAL-7 and NASAL-3, inexpensive and brief patient-reported assessments, can be used to identify individuals with OD. As the burden of COVID-19-associated OD increases, these assessments may prove beneficial as screening and diagnostic tools. Future work will explore whether the NASAL assessments are sensitive to change and how much of a change is clinically important..

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)252-258
Number of pages7
JournalJAMA Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Volume148
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2022

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