Background: The influence of congenital cytomegalovirus infection on cochlear function has been well recognised; however, its impact on the vestibular system in infants has not been examined. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate vestibular function in a group of infants, using caloric stimulation tests and vestibular-evoked myogenic potential measurements.
Materials and methods: Vestibular-evoked myogenic potentials and auditory brainstem responses were recorded and caloric stimulation was performed in 66 infants aged three months, comprising 40 healthy controls and 26 infants with congenital cytomegalovirus infection.
Results: No reaction to caloric stimulation was elicited from 16 examined ears, no vestibular-evoked myogenic potentials were recorded from 12 ears, and profound sensorineural hearing loss was diagnosed in eight ears. Pathological results were observed predominantly in infants with symptoms of intrauterine congenital cytomegalovirus infection present at birth.
Conclusions: In infants with clinical symptoms of congenital CMV infection present at birth, abnormal vestibular test results occurred more frequently than abnormal auditory brainstem response results. Vestibular organs should be routinely examined in individuals with congenital cytomegalovirus infection.