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Clin Neurophysiol. 2004 Jun;115(6):1384-91.

Anesthesia affects olfaction and chemosensory event-related potentials.

Author information

1
Department of Otorhinolaryngology, University of Basel-Kantonsspital, Petersgraben 4, CH-4031 Basel, Switzerland. awelge@uhbs.ch

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Olfactory and trigeminal systems interact and contribute to the perception of odorants. This study was aimed at investigating the effect of local anesthesia on olfaction.

METHODS:

One percent of tetracaine on a cotton swab was applied intranasally at three different locations in 20 volunteers and 4% of lidocaine was applied to the olfactory cleft in a head-down position. Before and after anesthesia, self-assessment, psychometric testing and olfactory event-related potentials [OERPs, using H(2)S and phenyl ethyl alcohol (PEA)], and chemosomatosensory event-related potentials (CSSERPs, using CO(2)) were examined.

RESULTS:

Anesthesia at all four locations significantly lowered the perceived self-assessment of olfaction, while using the cotton swab only anesthesia in the middle meatus elevated threshold (P = 0.020), lowered discrimination (P = 0.015), and prolonged OERP (PEA, P = 0.008; H(2)S, P = 0.016), as well as CSSERPs latencies (CO(2), P = 0.020). However, complete temporary anosmia was only achieved after applying 4% lidocaine into the olfactory cleft.

CONCLUSIONS:

Intranasal anesthesia applied with a swab reduced self-assessment of olfaction but was unable to produce anosmia. Psychometric test results were concordant with changes in chemosensory event-related potentials.

SIGNIFICANCE:

Temporary anosmia is technically difficult to achieve but could be demonstrated for the first time using local anesthesia. Even though anesthesia influences self-assessment, measurable olfactory function can remain unchanged.

PMID:
15134706
DOI:
10.1016/j.clinph.2003.12.028
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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