Objective: The incidence of congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection is approximately 1% of neonates. Ninety percent of congenitally infected infants are “asymptomatic;” they have no signs or symptoms at birth. The prevalence of congenital CMV in the profoundly deaf population and the pathogenesis of deafness from CMV are unknown. The objective of this study is to determine whether CMV can be demonstrated and quantified in perilymphatic fluid of patients with congenital CMV infection and sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) using a quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (QRTPCR).
Study Design: Prospective case series.
Methods: Perilymphatic fluid was collected at the time of cochlear implantation from children with known or radiologic evidence of congenital CMV infection and analyzed for the presence of CMV using QRTPCR. Blood was collected and analyzed for CMV using QRTPCR, serology, and culture. CMV was quantified in perilymphatic fluid and compared with that present in the patient's blood.
Results: Perilymphatic fluid and blood was collected from six children. QRTPCR was positive for CMV in the perilymphatic fluid of four patients. Blood analyzed with QRTPCR, and culture was negative in all patients.
Conclusions: CMV can be demonstrated and quantified in perilymphatic fluid using QRTPCR. Refinements in our technique and sampling of perilymphatic fluid from a large population of children with congenital SNHL and unknown etiology can determine the prevalence of CMV-mediated profound HL.