Cochlear Implantation in Children 12 Months of Age and Younger

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ObjectiveTo investigate surgical, anesthetic, and device-related complications as well as auditory and speech-language development outcomes associated with cochlear implantation (CI) in children 12 months of age and younger.Study DesignRetrospective chart review.SettingTertiary academic referral center.PatientsAll children with severe-to-profound sensorineural hearing loss who underwent cochlear implantation at 12 months of age or younger and an audiometric control group implanted between 13 and 24 months of age.Main Outcome MeasuresAnesthetic and surgical course; major and minor surgical, anesthetic and device-related complications; postoperative disposition; postoperative auditory receptive and expressive language development.ResultsTwenty-six patients (41 ears) met criteria. The median duration of follow-up was 58 months. No major surgical or anesthetic complications occurred. One patient (4%) experienced device failure, which required revision surgery and implant exchange. Two other patients (8%) had individual electrode anomalies that were treated with map exclusion. At the last recorded follow-up, 73% of patients were performing at or above the level of normal-hearing age-matched peers. Patients that were implanted at 12 months of age or younger reached age-appropriate speech and language skills by 24 months of age compared with 40 months for the older pediatric control group.ConclusionThe current study demonstrates that CI provides substantial benefit among infant recipients. Furthermore, when performed by an experienced cochlear implant and pediatric anesthesia team, the surgical and anesthetic risks are similar to that expected with both older pediatric and adult patients.

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