Prevalence of Sensorineural Hearing Loss in Children with Palliated or Repaired Congenital Heart Disease


Pediatric Cardiology, Advocate Christ Medical Center


Background: Children with congenital heart disease (CHD) are at increased risk of neurodevelopmental deficits, and the presence of sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) may further lead to poor language skills acquisition and speech delays. Prevalence of SNHL in the general pediatric population is estimated to be 0.2% at birth to 0.35% during adolescence. Very few studies have attempted to estimate SNHL prevalence in children who have undergone congenital heart surgery.

Methods: This retrospective study aimed to estimate SNHL prevalence in children who underwent congenital heart surgery in our institution and were followed up in our high-risk pediatric cardiology clinics for four years from 2009 to 2013. Data were collected on demographics, preoperative variables, surgical variables, and post-operative variables.

Results: SNHL prevalence in asymptomatic, palliated/repaired CHD patients followed in our high-risk clinics and undergoing routine surveillance was 11.6% (20 of 172 patients with hearing impairment). SNHL prevalence was not statistically higher in single-ventricle patients (17.2%) compared to biventricular patients (14.7%). Inotropic score in the first 24 hours of postoperative period (p=0.05), lowest arterial PaO2 (p=0.003), duration of Lasix drip (p=0), and bolus dose in days (p=0.03) were all found to be statistically significant in the hearing-impaired group. However, using logistic regression, we identified no statistically significant predictors for hearing loss.

Conclusion: The results suggest the need for routine audiology screening of all patients with complex CHD, especially those who have undergone neonatal cardiac repair/palliation at less than one year of age, irrespective of risk factors.

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