Congenital cytomegalovirus infection: contribution and best timing of prenatal MR imaging

Eur Radiol. 2016 Oct;26(10):3760-9. doi: 10.1007/s00330-015-4187-0. Epub 2016 Mar 17.


Objective: To predict sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) and neurological impairment in congenital cytomegalovirus (cCMV) infection using MR imaging and define the best timing in pregnancy for prenatal assessment.

Methods: In 121 patients with confirmed cCMV infection, brain features at MR imaging were respectively graded from 1 to 5: normal; isolated frontal/parieto-occipital hyperintensity; temporal periventricular hyperintensity; temporal/occipital cysts and/or intraventricular septa; migration disorders. Grading was correlated with postnatal SNHL and neurological impairment using regression analysis. In 51 fetuses with MR examinations at 26.9 and 33.0 weeks, the predictive value of SNHL and neurological impairment was compared using ROC curves.

Results: Postnatal follow-up showed SNHL in 18 infants and neurological impairment in 10. MR grading was predictive of SNHL and of neurological impairment (P < 0.001). In grade 1 or 2, none had SNHL and 1/74 had neurological impairment. The areas under ROC curves for prediction of postnatal SNHL and of neurological impairment from first and second MR examination were comparable.

Conclusion: Our data suggest that in cCMV infection, prediction of SNHL and neurological impairment is feasible by fetal MR imaging with a high negative predictive value and can equally be done at 27 or 33 weeks of gestation.

Key points: • In cCMV, isolated periventricular T2-weighted signal hyperintensity has a good postnatal prognosis. • In cCMV, SNHL and neurological impairment can be predicted at 27 or 33 weeks. • In cCMV, fetal MR has a high NPV in predicting SNHL. • In cCMV, fetal MR has a high NPV in predicting neurological impairment.

Keywords: Congenital CMV; Fetal MRI; Fetal infection; Polar temporal lesions; Sensorineural hearing loss.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Cytomegalovirus / isolation & purification
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / complications
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / congenital*
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / diagnostic imaging*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Fetal Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gestational Age
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / virology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Diagnosis / methods*
  • Prognosis
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal