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Am J Otolaryngol. 2001 Sep-Oct;22(5):343-8.

Sensorineural hearing loss and Kawasaki disease: a prospective study.

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Department of Surgery, UCSD School of Medicine, La Jolla, CA 92093-0830, USA.



Kawasaki disease (KD) is an acute, self-limited vasculitis of infants and children that is now the most common cause of acquired heart disease in the pediatric age group in the United States and Japan. Reports have documented the association of acute KD with sensorineural hearing loss. To assess the prevalence of hearing loss following acute KD in a geographically and ethnically diverse population, a prospective, multicenter study of hearing loss in patients with KD was conducted.


Patients with acute KD were enrolled in 7 clinical centers and underwent a primary audiologic evaluation within 30 days of the onset of fever. Patients were subsequently reevaluated after resolution of the acute phase of the disease. A questionnaire assessing risk factors for hearing loss was also administered.


A total of 62 patients were evaluated during the 29-month study period. At the first audiologic evaluation, 19 patients (30.6%) had sensorineural hearing loss, 6 patients (9.7%) had conductive hearing loss, 17 patients (27.4%) had normal hearing, and 20 patients (32.3%) had inconclusive studies. Overall, 2 of 36 patients (5.5%) had sensorineural hearing loss documented on their second audiologic evaluation. No risk factors for hearing loss were identified by the questionnaire.


Transient sensorineural hearing loss (20 to 35 dB) is a frequent complication of acute KD and may be related to salicylate toxicity in some patients. Persistent sensorineural hearing loss is uncommon. Parents and primary care providers should be made aware of the potential for persistent sensorineural hearing loss following resolution of KD, but routine audiologic screening of this patient population does not appear to be warranted.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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