European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology

, Volume 275, Issue 5, pp 1129–1137 | Cite as

Olfactory cleft evaluation: a predictor for olfactory function in smell-impaired patients?

  • Sophia C. Poletti
  • Gustavo Murta
  • Antje Hähner
  • Thomas HummelEmail author



In this study, we introduce an extension of previous work by Soler et al. (Int Forum Allergy Rhinol 6(3):293–298, 2016) on a modified endoscopic scoring system of the Lund–Kennedy Score (focusing on the olfactory cleft) to evaluate its correlation with the olfactory function in patients with various smell disorders.

Study design

A prospective cohort study.


Two-hundred and eighty-eight participants were included and categorized in five groups according to the cause of their olfactory disorder: (0) control, (1) idiopathic, (2) sino-nasal, (3) postinfectious and (4) post traumatic olfactory loss. Olfaction was evaluated using the “Sniffin’ Sticks” test. The classical Lund–Kennedy scoring and a new olfactory cleft specific Lund–Kennedy scoring (OC–LK) were performed to evaluate mucosal changes.


Significantly higher OC–LK scores on both sides were found in smell-impaired patients as compared to normosmic controls. When comparing the 4 groups, a significant difference of the OC–LK score were present between the sino-nasal and all other groups. Most importantly, significant negative correlations with strong effects were shown in the sino-nasal group between the OC–LK score and odor discrimination and odor identification. However, no such correlation emerged between the classical LK score and smell function.


Olfactory cleft evaluation using the OC–LK score correlates with the olfactory function in patients with sino-nasal smell disorder. This diagnostic tool may reflect the underlying pathophysiological mechanism of sino-nasal smell loss, and therefore, should complement olfactory diagnostics in patients with sino-nasal smell disorder.


Lund–Kennedy scoring system Sino-nasal Olfactory loss Olfactory cleft Endoscopic grading 



This work was supported by a grant from the ‘Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft’ to TH (DFG HU441/18-1). SCP was granted by the ‘Dresden Fellowship Program’ of the “Technische Universität” (TU) Dresden.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

TH, GM, AH, SCP declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Smell and Taste ClinicTU DresdenDresdenGermany

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