To evaluate the effectiveness of crenotherapy on the olfactory performance of elderly patients with chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS).
A longitudinal case-control study of a cohort of elderly patients affected by CRS and olfactory dysfunction assessed with the Sniffin' Sticks (Burghart Medical Technology, Wedel, Germany) (SS) olfactory test.
One hundred and thirty-seven elderly subjects with CRS were divided into two groups. The investigational arm (n = 69) underwent crenotherapy with hyperthermal water, rich in mineral salts, and the control group (n = 68) underwent NaCl 0.9% both for 12 days. At baseline and at 1 and 6 months after treatment, both groups underwent ear nose and throat assessment and SS. Self-report questionnaires were administered at baseline to evaluate the patients' own olfactory response, and after treatment to evaluate their degree tolerability. Olfactory performance was then evaluated in elderly subjects with hyposmia without CRS (n = 40) and in younger subjects with both hyposmia and CRS (n = 40).
No adverse reactions were reported after crenotherapy. The SS total score showed that crenotherapy induced a statistically significant improvement in the olfactory function of both the elderly and the younger subjects with hyposmia and CRS. By contrast, no improvement was observed in the control arm and in the elderly with hyposmia without CRS. All subjects showed a good degree of tolerability.
We demonstrated that crenotherapy effectively improves olfactory function in elderly patients with CRS. Finally, our study suggests that crenotherapy represents a safe therapeutic strategy for the treatment of CRS and olfactory dysfunction in the elderly.