In utero CMV exposure is a risk factor for sensorineural hearing loss

  • Pediatrics

  • International Clinical Digest
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Takeaway

  • Exposure to cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection in utero is linked to increased risk for sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) in children.
  • Exposure in the first trimester of pregnancy is especially associated with SNHL.

Why this matters

  • Children whose mothers had CMV during pregnancy might benefit from a thorough investigation for hearing loss.
  • Congenital CMV is the most common fetal viral infection, yet screening for CMV during pregnancy or in the neonate is not recommended.

Key results

  • Of 157 children with known CMV infection, 12.7% had SNHL; 5.7% needed hearing amplification.
  • Children who had symptomatic CMV infection at birth were likelier to have hearing loss (44.4% of them vs 11.0% with asymptomatic infection; P=.017).
  • So were children born to mothers who had a maternal primary CMV infection before 14 weeks of pregnancy (P=.029; all severe-profound) or who had abnormalities on neonatal brain imaging (P<.001>

Study design

  • Prospective study, 157 children, 22 years of follow-up.
  • Funding: Belgian Ministry of Social Affairs.

Limitations

  • Population limited to Brussels, small numbers.

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