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Radiologia Brasileira

On-line version ISSN 1678-7099


SILVA, Amaro Ilídio Vespasiano; GALANTE, Célio  and  MANZI, Flávio Ricardo. Effect of ionizing radiation on the taste function of patients submitted to head and neck radiotherapy. Radiol Bras [online]. 2011, vol.44, n.5, pp.297-300. ISSN 1678-7099.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effects of ionizing radiation on the taste function in patients submitted to radiotherapy in the head and neck region. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Twenty patients diagnosed with head and neck tumors and undergoing treatment in the Division of Radiotherapy at Santa Casa de Misericórdia de Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil, were selected. For their taste function testing, four solutions were manipulated with salt (NaCl), sugar (sucrose), citric acid (for acidity), and urea (for bitterness), at three different (low, medium and high) concentrations. Weekly tests were performed during the first three weeks of radiotherapy, with random administration of the solutions (three drops each) respecting the order of their concentration levels (low, medium and high). After the application of each solution, the patient reported which flavor he/she tasted. RESULTS: A statistically significant difference was observed in the loss of taste function as the results in the 1st and 4th weeks of treatment were compared, with salty solution at the three concentration levels, with the sweet solution at low and medium concentrations, and with the sour and bitter solutions, only at low concentration. CONCLUSION: Ionizing radiation alters the taste function of patients submitted to head and neck radiotherapy.

Keywords : Ionizing radiation; Radiobiology; Ageusia.

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