Electrocardiogram Screening in Children with Congenital Sensorineural Hearing Loss: Prevalence and Follow-up of Abnormalities

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Abstract

Objective

The purpose is to determine the prevalence of electrocardiogram (ECG) abnormalities, including borderline and prolonged QT, among screened children with sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) and to analyze their subsequent medical workup.

Study Design

Institutional Review Board–approved case series with chart review.

Setting

Tertiary academic center.

Subjects and Methods

Cases from 1996 to 2014 involving pediatric patients (N = 1994) with SNHL were analyzed. Abnormal ECGs were categorized as borderline/prolonged QT or other. A board-certified pediatric cardiologist retrospectively determined the clinical significance of ECG changes. For follow-up analysis, children with heart disease, known syndromes, or inaccessible records were excluded.

Results

Among 772 children who had ECGs, 215 (27.8%) had abnormal results: 35 (4.5%) with QT abnormalities and 180 (23.3%) with other abnormalities. For children with QT abnormalities meeting inclusion criteria (n = 30), follow-up measures included cardiology referral (46.6%), repeat ECG by ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist (20%), clearance by ENT specialist with clinical correlation and/or comparison with old ECGs (20%), and pediatrician follow-up (6.7%). Documentation of further workup by ENT or referral was absent for 6.7%. For children with other ECG changes meeting inclusion criteria (n = 136), abnormalities were documented for 57 (41.9%); normal QT without other abnormality was documented for 18 (13.2%). The most common follow-up referrals were to pediatricians (16.9%) and cardiologists (10.3%). Among patients with clinically significant non-QT abnormalities mandating further evaluation (n = 122), 38 (31.1%) had documented follow-up in medical records.

Conclusion

There is a high prevalence of ECG abnormalities among children with congenital SNHL. If findings are confirmed by future studies, screening should be considered for congenital unilateral or bilateral SNHL, regardless of severity. We describe a standardized protocol for ECG screening/follow-up.

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