Researchers claim heart surgery in infants may cause deafness

heart surgery in infant may cause deafness
Representational image of heart surgery in infant Reuter

A recent study, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, has revealed that infants who have undergone may risk hearing loss by the age of four. The researchers have also found that those children might also develop poor language skills and cognitive problems.

The team of researchers said that around 21 per cent of 348 pre-schoolers, who had survived cardiac surgery, suffered hearing loss. This rate was 20 times higher than that prevalent among the general population.

Researchers have analysed the neuro-developmental outcomes in these children for the study and a total of 75 children were found to have developed hearing disability.

The study also noted that there were several other factors common among the hearing loss cases such as gestational age younger than 37 weeks, a confirmed genetic anomaly and longer postoperative length of stay.

According to the study, the children with hearing loss had lower scores on measures of language skills, cognition (IQ testing), and executive function and attention.

The researchers suggested that children who undergo heart surgery should have their hearing evaluated by age 24 to 30 months. This would increase their chances of receiving timely medical intervention.

"Children born with life-threatening heart defects require a great deal of sophisticated care before and after surgery," lead author of the study Nancy B. Burnham, a nurse-practitioner in the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia said.

The symptoms of hearing loss includes pain in one or both ears, dizziness or vertigo, tinnitus or pressure in one or both ears.

(With inputs from IANS)