Congenital cytomegalovirus infection is one of the leading causes of nongenetic sensorineural hearing loss. The aim of our retrospective cohort study was to describe the changes in hearing in relation to antiviral therapy and the trend in viremia and viruria in children with congenital cytomegalovirus infection.
In the present study, data were collected from infants treated with valganciclovir for 6 weeks or 6 months or untreated, seen between 2000 and 2021 at the Infectious Diseases Unit, Meyer Children’s University Hospital, Florence, Italy. Hearing deterioration was studied using Kaplan-Meier survival curves and risk factors for the outcome “deterioration” with Cox analysis.
Ninety-eight children were enrolled. Three children developed late hearing loss (2 children treated with valganciclovir for 6 weeks and 1 untreated). Kaplan-Meier survival curves of children treated for 6 weeks and 6 months overlapped until 36 months of life, after then 2 children of the 6-week group showed a worsening of hearing function (P = 0.609). Cox analysis did not show a significant impact of analyzed variables (group of therapy, viruria and viremia) on the outcome. The resolution of detectable viruria and viremia was significantly faster in the 6-month group (P = 0.011, <0.001, respectively).
Our study is the first that reports audiological characteristics at follow-up after 24 months of life in treated and untreated children with congenital cytomegalovirus infection. In our population, 6 months therapy may prevent the development of late hearing loss, although the different regimens did not differ in influencing the progression of congenital deafness.