Background: Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is the most common cause of non-genetic sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) in the United States; yet screening for congenital CMV (cCMV) remains controversial. CMV related SNHL can be present at birth, or develop in a delayed manner, and it is a consistent feature in children with either symptomatic or asymptomatic disease. A retrospective chart review was performed to determine the characteristics of patients diagnosed with cCMV and SNHL.
Methods: The electronic database warehouse of the Nemours Children's Health System (NCHS) was queried from 01/01/2004 to 10/05/2019. ICD 9 (771.1) and ICD 10 (B25.9, P35.1) diagnostic codes were used to identify patients throughout the system with a diagnosis of cCMV infection. Patient demographics including gender, race/ethnicity, age of diagnosis, results of newborn hearing screening (NBHS), detection and progression of hearing loss, presence of antiviral therapy, and frequency of monitoring were collected, and descriptive statistics performed.
Results: Of the 170 patients confirmed to have cCMV, 153 (90%) were symptomatic and 17 (10%) were asymptomatic. CNS involvement (63.5%), radiographic evidence of disease present (69.4%), and SNHL (50.6%) were the most common manifestations of the disease. Of these 170 patients, 83 (48.8%) were determined to have SNHL eligible for evaluation. For these patients with SNHL, the average time of hearing monitoring was 50.6 months. At the time of initial reported detection 63 of 83 (76%) had bilateral hearing loss and 20 (24%) had unilateral loss. Over the study period 3 (15%) progressed from unilateral to bilateral involvement, and 32 (47%) had a deterioration in hearing, with severe to profound SNHL in at least one ear identified at the last visit in 53 (64%) patients. Newborn hearing testing results were available for 69 (83%) of those with hearing loss and 26 patients passed initial testing. However, of the 26 patients who passed, 22 (85%) eventually developed SNHL by their last visit. Within our cohort, females with cCMV were significantly more likely to have SNHL than males with cCMV (62.3% versus 37.6%; p < 0.01).
Conclusion: In the absence of targeted or universal cCMV screening, the majority of children identified with this condition present symptomatically. Approximately one half of children with symptomatic cCMV failed NBHS at birth while at least 25% develop SNHL later in life. Children with cCMV are at high risk of delayed onset loss and such children, particularly females, should be monitored closely.
Keywords: Audiology; Congenital; Cytomegalovirus; Hearing loss; Hearing screening; Sensorineural.
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