Cochlear Implantation in Children 12 Months of Age and Younger

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Abstract

Objective

To 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 Design

Retrospective chart review.

Setting

Tertiary academic referral center.

Patients

All 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 Measures

Anesthetic and surgical course; major and minor surgical, anesthetic and device-related complications; postoperative disposition; postoperative auditory receptive and expressive language development.

Results

Twenty-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.

Conclusion

The 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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