Background. Recently, congenital cytomegalovirus (cCMV) infection was reported irrespective of a negative amniotic fluid prenatal analysis for cytomegalovirus (CMV). The question of whether this phenomenon represents low sensitivity of the test or late development of fetal infection (after amniocentesis) was discussed, but not answered. However, if late transmission is the rule, then infants born with cCMV after negative amniocentesis would be expected to carry better prognosis than those who tested positive.
Methods. Data of all infants with cCMV infection, followed in 2 pediatric centers from 2006 to 2015, were reviewed. Infant outcome after birth of symptomatic vs asymptomatic disease was compared with infants born after a negative amniocentesis (study group) and those with a positive amniocentesis (control group).
Results. Amniocentesis was performed in 301 pregnancies of our cohort of infants with cCMV and was negative for CMV in 47 (15.6%). There were fewer symptomatic cCMV neonates in the study group than in the control group (4.3% vs 25%; P < .001). Hearing impairment at birth was also less frequent in the study group (2.2% vs 17.4%; P = .012). None of the children in the study group had neurologic sequelae at long-term follow up, compared with 13 (14.1%) in the control group (P < .001).
Conclusions. Although negative amniocentesis does not exclude cCMV, infants with cCMV born after a negative amniocentesis seldom present with mild clinical symptoms or cerebral ultrasound features at birth. These children also have a very good long-term outcome. Our findings support the theory of a late development of fetal infection, after the time of the amniocentesis.