Decreased Taste and Smell Acuity in Cirrhosis

Robert E. Burch, MD; David A. Sackin, MD; John A. Ursick, MD; Mary M. Jetton, MS; James F. Sullivan, MD
Arch Intern Med. 1978;138(5):743-746. doi:10.1001/archinte.1978.03630290047017.
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The sensory modalities of taste and smell were evaluated in eight patients with cirrhosis that was proved by biopsy specimens and in 13 control subjects. Additionally, the following serum levels were determined in these same subjects: zinc, copper, magnesium, calcium, manganese, and selenium. Fourteen concentrations each of sucrose, sodium chloride, urea, and hydrochloric acid were used to evaluate taste acuity. Smell was evaluated with 11 concentrations each of nitrobenzene, thiophene, and pyridine. These studies show that decreased acuity of taste and smell occurred in conjunction with cirrhosis in the patients who were tested. There were no trace element abnormalities that consistently correlated with decreased acuity in perception of the individual test substances.

(Arch Intern Med 138:743-746, 1978)


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