Personal Accounts of Anosmia Study (PAAS)

Timothy Bradshaw, Sally Erskine, Carl Philpott

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


There are large numbers of patients with olfactory disturbance in the UK and shortfalls in assessment and support amongst mainstream ENT practice. This qualitative analysis of written patient accounts aims to identify the main concerns for such patients.

This qualitative study uses written accounts received by the smell and taste clinic of a tertiary referral centre in the UK, from consenting patients experiencing olfactory disturbances (hyposmia/anosmia/parosmia/phantosmia). Framework analysis was performed using NVivo 10 software.

These results show the main and important themes identified to date.

Participants – age range 34-70 years, 62 females, 39 males.

Emotional impact – feelings of embarrassment, sadness, depression, worry and bereavement.

Relationships – several participants believed symptoms impaired feelings of closeness and intimacy.

Daily functioning – unpleasant perception of everyday odours led to avoidance of common areas such as public transport. Several participants reported difficulty assessing personal hygiene.

Physical health – loss of interest in food and difficulty identifying expired food products. Some felt endangered by being unable to detect smoke or gas.

Financial burden – cost of private referral, alternative treatments and lost income for consultations.

Attitudes of healthcare workers – several participants had been met with disinterest or refused referral. Some were told there was no treatment.

These results demonstrate that olfactory disturbances have a wide-ranging impact on the lives of sufferers, compounded by a lack of knowledge of the disorder amongst clinicians. Consequently, there may be a role for further support and education for both sufferers and clinicians as well as a need to improve understanding of olfactory disturbance.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2014
EventBritish Rhinological Society - Belfast, United Kingdom
Duration: 18 May 201218 May 2012


ConferenceBritish Rhinological Society
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

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