Prevalence of Childhood Permanent Hearing Loss after Early Complex Cardiac Surgery

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ObjectivesTo estimate the prevalence of childhood permanent hearing loss (PHL) after early cardiac surgery.Study designThis prospective observational (1996-2015) study after complex cardiac surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass at ≤6 weeks of life reports audiology follow-up by registered pediatric-experienced audiologists at 6-8 months postsurgery, age 2 years, and as required throughout and thereafter to complete diagnoses. PHL at any frequency (500-4000 Hz) is defined as responses of >25-decibel hearing level in either ear. PHL was evaluated by type (conductive or sensorineural), pattern (flat or sloping), and severity (mild to profound).ResultsSurvival rate was 83.4% (706 of 841 children) with a 97.9% follow-up rate (691 children); 41 children had PHL, 5.9% (95% CI 4.3%, 8.0%). By cardiac defect, prevalence was biventricular, 4.0% (95%CI 2.5%, 6.1%); single ventricle, 10.8% (95%CI 6.8%, 16.1%). Eighty-seven (12.6%) of 691 had syndromes/genetic abnormalities with known association with PHL; of these, 17 (41.5%) had PHL. Of 41 children, 4 had permanent conductive, moderate to severe loss (1 bilateral); 37 had moderate to profound sensorineural loss (29 bilateral with 20 sloping and 9 flat), 6 with cochlear implant done or recommended.ConclusionsInfants surviving complex cardiac surgery are at high risk for PHL. Over 40% with PHL have known syndromes/genetic abnormalities, but others do not have easily identifiable risk indicators. Early cardiac surgery should be considered a risk indicator for PHL.

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