OBJECTIVE: To determine the prevalence of hearing loss in school-age children who have undergone neonatal extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) treatment and to identify any effects of hearing loss on speech- and language development. DESIGN: Prospective longitudinal follow-up study within the framework of a structured post-ECMO follow-up program. SETTING: Outpatient clinic of a level III university hospital. RESULTS: Tone audiometry was performed by standardized protocol in 136 children aged 5 to 12 years. Hearing loss was considered clinically significant when >20dB. Hearing was normal in 75.7% of children. Five children (3.7%) had bilateral sensorineural or combined hearing loss; 3 of them received special audiological care (2.2% of total sample). Of the 24 children with congenital diaphragmatic hernia, 19 (79.2%) had normal hearing; and only 2 (8.3%) had mild SNHL, unilateral in one of them. Follow-up at 24 months of age had shown normal verbal and non-verbal developmental scores. Language development and intelligence median (range) scores at 5 years of age were also normal: receptive language development 104 (55-133); syntactical development 104 (68-132); and lexical development 101 (50-141) for 89 children; intelligence quotient was 104 (68-132) in 106 children. Scores did not differ between those with normal hearing, and those with mild hearing loss, or those with moderate to severe hearing loss (p=0.800, p=0.639, p=0.876, and p=0.886, for the respective developmental tests). CONCLUSIONS: We found normal language development and intelligence in a cohort of neonatal ECMO survivors. The prevalence of bilateral sensorineural hearing loss was in accordance with that of larger series in the United States – which exceeds the prevalence in the normal population.

audiometry, congenital diaphragmatic hernia, language development
Swart-van Essen Fund provided an unrestricted grant
Pediatric Critical Care Medicine
Accepted paper in Pediatric Critical Care Medicine
Department of Pediatrics

van den Hondel, D, Madderom, M.J, Goedegebure, A, Gischler, S.J, Mazer, P, Tibboel, D, & IJsselstijn, H. (2012). Sensorineural hearing loss and language development following neonatal extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. Pediatric Critical Care Medicine. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/32773