Neonatal gentamicin exposure is not tied to childhood hearing loss

  • Pediatrics

  • Emily Willingham, PhD
  • Clinical Essentials
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Takeaway

  • Children exposed to gentamicin in infancy do not seem to experience effects on hearing thresholds at school age.

Why this matters

  • Older studies had suggested some ototoxicity of neonatal gentamicin exposure, but the hearing tests used were less sensitive than the pure tone audiometry with extended high-frequency range used in this study.

Key results

  • Median cumulative dose of gentamicin in infancy was 30 (interquartile range, 24-42) mg/kg.
  • Median trough plasma level was 1.0 (interquartile range, 0.7-1.2) mg/L.
  • At a median of 9 years of follow-up, the median midfrequency hearing threshold among exposed children was 2.5 (0-6.25) dB hearing level.
  • Their median extended high-frequency range average hearing threshold was −1.7 (−5.0 to 5.0) dB hearing level.
  • Both of these measures were in the normal range.
  • After adjustment for birth weight, these children did not differ from a set of unexposed, age-matched controls.

Study design

  • Included 219 children exposed neonatally to high-dose gentamicin regimen (2004-2012) and 33 unexposed age-matched controls.
  • Funding: Northern Norway Regional Health Authority.

Limitations

  • Response rate from originally eligible exposed population was only 63%, creating potential selection bias.