[Meningitis as cochlear implant complication]

Srp Arh Celok Lek. Mar-Apr 2009;137(3-4):194-8. doi: 10.2298/sarh0904194k.
[Article in Serbian]


Over the last several decades, cochlear implantation has been fully proven as the treatment for profound hearing losses. The direct electrical stimulation of the spiral ganglion hair cells through the electrode inserted in the cochlear scala tympani is the essence of the cochlear implant (CI) functioning. Modern technological development has introduced unexpected technical quality possibilities of the device itself, as well as coding strategies, which further enable improved patients' rehabilitation results. Nevertheless, in spite of cochlear implantation becoming a routine surgical procedure, which has been changing lives of thousands of profoundly deaf adults and children, it has possible complications. Though rare, these complications could lead to severe, even fatal consequences. Bacterial meningitis represents one of the most severe postoperative complications. In this article, our five-year experience with cochlear implantation is shown, compared to other, much bigger, experiences. Despite severity and a potentially fatal outcome of meningitis, it has rarely been seen, and the precise connection between surgical procedure and this complication is not yet clear. Do cochlear implants increase the risk of bacterial meningitis? Are deafness-associated factors predisposing the bacterial meningitis occurrence, independently from the implant? These are the questions that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the CI surgeons have been facing, as well as manufacturers and patients with their families.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cochlear Implantation / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Meningitis, Bacterial / etiology*