Chinese Medical Sciences Journal ›› 2022, Vol. 37 ›› Issue (1): 23-30.doi: 10.24920/003982

• Original Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Magnetic Resonance Imaging Findings of Olfactory Bulb in Anosmic Patients with COVID-19: A Systematic Review

Atefeh Beigi-khoozani1, Amirmohammad Merajikhah2, *(), Mahdieh Soleimani3   

  1. 1Department of Operating Room, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
    2Department of Operating Room, Sabzevar University of Medical Sciences, Razavi Khorasan, Iran
    3Department of Operating Room, Maragheh University of Medical Sciences, East Azerbaijan, Iran
  • Received:2021-08-14 Accepted:2021-10-15 Published:2022-03-31 Online:2022-03-07
  • Contact: Amirmohammad Merajikhah

Background Anosmia is one of the symptoms in individuals with SARS-CoV-2 infection. In anosmic patients, SARS-CoV-2 temporarily alters the signaling process in olfactory nerve cells and olfactory bulb (OB), which eventually damages the structure of the olfactory epithelium, leading to a permanent disorder in the olfactory pathway that this damaged structure is showed in MRI imaging
Method Two investigators independently searched four databases consisting of PubMed, ProQuest, Scopus, and Web of Science for relevant records as of November 11, 2020 with no time, space, and language restrictions. Google Scholar was also searched for the related resources within the time limit of 2020. All the found articles were reviewed based on the PRISMA flow diagram. Qualitative studies, case reports, editorials, letters, and other non-original studies were excluded from this systematic analysis.
Results Initial search yielded 434 records. After reviewing the titles and abstracts, we selected 74 articles; finally, 8 articles were depicted to be investigated and read in full text. The obtained results showed an increase in the width and volume of the olfactory cleft (OC), complete or partial destruction of OC, and complete occlusion of OC in COVID-19 patients. Deformation and degeneration as well as a subtle asymmetry were evident in the OBs. Computed tomography (CT), meganetic resonance imaging (MRI), and positron emission tomography (PET) were used to detect the outcomes of anosmia in these studies.
Conclusions The changes in OC are greater than those in OB in patients with COVID-19, mainly due to the inflammatory and immune responses in OC. However, fewer changes in OB are due to neurological or vascular disorders. Topical steroid therapy and topical saline can be helpful.

Key words: magnetic resonance imaging, olfactory bulb, COVID-19, anosmia

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