Clinical presentation of qualitative olfactory dysfunction

  • J. Frasnelli
  • B. N. Landis
  • S. Heilmann
  • B. Hauswald
  • K. B. Hüttenbrink
  • J. S. Lacroix
  • D. A. Leopold
  • T. Hummel


Many patients with olfactory dysfunction not only experience quantitative reduction of olfactory function, but also suffer from distorted olfactory sensations. This qualitative dysfunction is referred to as parosmia (also called “troposmia”) or phantosmia, with the major difference that distorted olfactory sensations are experienced in the presence or absence of an odor, respectively. Our clinical observations corroborate the literature in terms of a general underestimation of the incidence of olfactory distortions. Based on selected cases we try to show that olfactory distortions exhibit a large variance in their clinical appearance. Further, emphasis is placed on the fact that only a detailed and directed history of the patient can provide cues to the correct diagnosis.


Parosmia Phantosmia Olfaction 



This work was supported by a grant from the Swiss National Fund for Scientific Research FNSRS (no. 3100A0-100621-1) to JSL, and a grant from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG HU441/2-1) to TH.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag is a part of Springer Science+Business Media 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Frasnelli
    • 1
  • B. N. Landis
    • 1
    • 2
  • S. Heilmann
    • 1
  • B. Hauswald
    • 1
  • K. B. Hüttenbrink
    • 1
  • J. S. Lacroix
    • 2
  • D. A. Leopold
    • 3
  • T. Hummel
    • 1
  1. 1.Smell and Taste Clinic, Department of OtorhinolaryngologyUniversity of Dresden Medical SchoolDresdenGermany
  2. 2.Unité de Rhinologie-Olfactologie, ENT DepartmentUniversity Hospital of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland
  3. 3.Department of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck SurgeryUniversity of Nebraska Medical CenterOmahaUSA

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