Cardiac Surgery in Infancy May Increase Risk for Hearing Loss

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The prevalence of hearing loss in children who had heart surgery in infancy was 21.6%.
The prevalence of hearing loss in children who had heart surgery in infancy was 21.6%.

HealthDay News — The prevalence of hearing loss in preschool children who had heart surgery in infancy may be above 20%, according to a study published in The Journal of Pediatrics.

Madison A. Grasty, from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and colleagues investigated the prevalence of hearing loss after cardiac surgery in infancy and factors associated with hearing loss. As part of a prospective study evaluating neurodevelopmental outcomes at age 4 years, 348 children who had congenital heart disease repair underwent audiologic and neurodevelopmental evaluations.

The researchers found that the prevalence of hearing loss was 21.6% overall, 12.4% for conductive hearing loss, 6.9% for sensorineural hearing loss, and 2.3% for indeterminate hearing loss. Only 5.2% of subjects had screened positive for hearing loss before the study. Younger gestational age, longer postoperative duration of stay, and a confirmed genetic anomaly were associated with hearing loss after the researchers adjusted for patient and operative covariates. Furthermore, the presence of hearing loss was associated with worse language, cognition, and attention.

"These findings suggest that the prevalence of hearing loss in preschool children after heart surgery in infancy may be 20-fold higher than in the 1% prevalence seen in the general population," the authors wrote.

Reference

Grasty MA, Ittenbach RF, Knightly C, et al. Hearing loss after cardiac surgery in infancy: an unintended consequence of life-saving care. J Pediatr. 2018;192:144-151.e1.

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