The Effects of COVID-19 Pandemic in Otolaryngology Practice: A Review of the Literature

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Sahin M. M. , Cebeci S., Düzlü M., Karamert R., Ceylan A.

GAZI MEDICAL JOURNAL, vol.31, pp.276-282, 2020 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Review
  • Volume: 31
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.12996/gmj.2020.70
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index, Scopus, Academic Search Premier
  • Page Numbers: pp.276-282


The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was isolated as the causative agent following the first case reports of pneumonia with unknown etiology in China. The 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) significantly affected the health care systems in the world. The disease was accepted as COVID-19 pandemic by WHO. Diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19 infection requires multidisciplinary management and there are currently many ongoing studies for possible vaccination and antiviral therapies for the treatment. The major symptoms are known to be high fever and dry cough. Moreover, new symptoms like olfactory and gustatory dysfunction are defined. The epithelium of upper respiratory tract and related cavities (ear, paranasal sinuses) are known to be reservoir for COVID19 virus. Therefore, otorhinolaryngology physicians are one of the highest risk groups for nosocomial transmission. The pandemic altered standard daily working schedule of otorhinolaryngology physicians in the world. Elective operations such as rhinologic and otological surgeries are suspended, and novel prevention strategies were developed to prevent nosocomial transmission during physical examination and surgery. However, the treatment of emergency diseases like deep neck infections, epistaxis, tracheostomy, and head and neck cancers are still going on as expected. COVID-19 associated ARDS is known to require prolonged intubation and mechanical ventilation. But at the moment, the postitive effects of performing tracheostomy is not clearly identified on the outcomes of COVID-19-affected patients. In this study we aimed to review the literature regarding COVID-19 from an otorhinolaryngology point of view. We wanted to show how the pandemic affected daily otorhinolaryngology practice including outpatient clinic, head and cancer treatment, tracheostomy, and otologic manifestations along with preventive measures. In addition, we aimed to emphasize olfactory and taste disturbances which are now included in the COVID19 symptoms.