Congenital sensorineural hearing loss is a heterogeneous disorder; its etiological profile varies between populations. Pathogenic variants of GJB2 gene are the major cause of non-syndromic hearing loss. Congenital cytomegalovirus infection (cCMV) is the most important prenatal etiological factor causing hearing loss and other disorders. Perinatal events, syndromes, postnatal infections or traumas are less common. Causes of the remaining one third of hearing loss cases are unknown.
To determine the etiological profile of hearing loss in pediatric cochlear implant users in Lithuanian population.
The data of 122 children (70 male/52 female; aged 7.6 ± 3.3 years) cochlear implant users were analysed. Medical records of all children recruited in Santaros Clinics (Vilnius, Lithuania) were analysed to identify prenatal, perinatal, or postnatal risk factors based on the adapted list proposed by the Joint Committee of Infant Hearing. Genetic counselling and testing according to the scheme were performed to 101 children. DNA of 117 children was extracted from the DBS on Guthrie cards and CMV DNA detected using real time PCR.
Non-syndromic hearing loss was diagnosed in 65 cases (53.3%), 58 of which were GJB2 gene-associated; syndromic hearing loss was diagnosed to 8 children (6.6%). Perinatal (prematurity, low birth weight, hypoxia, hyperbilirubinemia, sepsis, ototoxicity, and meningitis) and postnatal (meningitis) risk factors were associated with hearing loss in 16 (13.1%) and 4 (3.3%) study participants respectively. CMV DNA was detected in 12 samples (9.8%). The cause of hearing loss remained unknown only for 17 (13.9%) children.
The major cause of HL in the current study was GJB2 gene alterations. Only 14% of the cohort had congenital hearing loss of unknown origin.
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