In the Journals

Hearing-targeted early CMV screening identifies infected children

Using hearing-targeted cytomegalovirus testing for infants failing newborn hearing screening can lead to earlier detection of hearing within 90 days, according to a recent study published in Pediatrics.

“Congenital [cytomegalovirus (cCMV)] often goes undetected at birth because most newborns are ‘asymptomatic,’ with no obvious clinical signs or symptoms other than a possible failed newborn hearing screen (NBHS),” Marissa L. Diener, PhD, from the department of family and consumer studies at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, and colleagues wrote. “CMV screening appears to be relatively low cost compared with diagnostic testing, although the impact on health outcomes has not yet been examined.”

Marissa Diener, MD
Marissa L. Diener

The researchers sought to present outcomes of hearing-targeted CMV screening 2 years after Utah passed legislation mandating CMV screening for infants who fail newborn hearing screening (NBHS). They examined 509 infants who failed NBHS in the 24 months after passing the legislation using Utah Department of Health HiTrack and Vital Records databases. Performing multivariate logistic regression analyses, they identified predictors of compliance with timely CMV screening and diagnostic hearing evaluation.

Out of 509 infants, 62% who never passed NBHS underwent CMV screening. Diener and colleagues found that 14 of 234 infants tested within 21 days were CMV positive; 6 of these 14 (42.9%) infants had hearing loss. Within 90 days of birth, 77% of eligible newborns completed a diagnostic hearing test. The investigation revealed compliance with CMV screening was linked to sociodemographic factors, time since implementing the law and NBHS protocol.  Children born after the legislation showed greater odds of achieving timely diagnostic hearing evaluation compared with infants born before the law.

“A statewide [hearing-targeted early cytomegalovirus screening] approach can identify cCMV-infected children.” Diener and colleagues wrote. “Timely CMV screening rates increased substantially from the first 6 months to the subsequent 18 months after the legislation, indicating successful uptake of the screening program.” – by Savannah Demko

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.