Background: Congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) is an important cause of sensorineural hearing loss. Ganciclovir treatment in the neonatal period may prevent hearing deterioration in infants with central nervous system (CNS) involvement. However, there are hardly any data regarding antiviral treatment begun beyond the neonatal period.
Objectives: To describe the hearing outcome of infants with congenital CMV infection and CNS involvement treated beyond the neonatal period. To assess the tolerability and toxicity of prolonged valganciclovir treatment in these patients.
Study design: Retrospective case series of infants with congenital CMV infection and CNS involvement who started antiviral treatment beyond the neonatal period in Spain between 2008 and 2010. Hearing was tested by brainstem-evoked response at the time of diagnosis, 6 and 12 months after the beginning of treatment.
Results: Thirteen cases were included. All received oral valganciclovir, and 4 also intravenous ganciclovir. Median valganciclovir treatment duration was 6 months and it was well tolerated. Six patients developed neutropenia, none requiring granulocyte colony-stimulating factor. Eleven children (85%) had hearing defects at baseline, compared to 50% at 12 months. By ears, 18 ears showed hearing loss at baseline (7 mild, 3 moderate, 8 severe). At 12 months, 9 remained stable, 7 had improved and none had worsened. In 8 normal ears at baseline, no deterioration was found at 12 months.
Conclusions: Valganciclovir treatment is well tolerated. It may improve or preserve the auditory function of congenitally cytomegalovirus-infected patients treated beyond the neonatal period for at least one year after the beginning of antiviral treatment.
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