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Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2003 Jun;22(6):504-9.

Treatment of children with congenital cytomegalovirus infection with ganciclovir.

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Division of Allergy, Immunology, Infectious Diseases, Department of Pediatrics, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.



Congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection affects approximately 1% of live births in the US. Ten percent of these infants have symptoms at birth and another 10 to 15% acquire hearing loss or developmental problems. Congenital CMV is the most common cause of nonhereditary sensorineural hearing loss in children, and progressive hearing loss is common. To arrest the natural progression of congenital CMV, children referred to our center were treated with a prolonged course of ganciclovir.


Medical records of children with congenital CMV who were treated with ganciclovir were reviewed to tabulate their presenting symptoms, duration of treatment, audiologic and developmental assessments and complications.


We treated nine children with symptomatic CMV with iv ganciclovir at a median age of 10 days (range, 3 days to 11 months). Findings at diagnosis included microcephaly (five of nine); petechiae (five of nine); thrombocytopenia (seven of nine); and intracranial calcifications (six of eight). Hearing loss was noted before therapy in five of nine. The median duration of iv and subsequent oral ganciclovir was 1 year and 0.83 year, respectively. Median follow-up was 2 years (range, 1 to 7 years). No child had progression of hearing loss; improvement occurred in two. Seven children had at least one complication of ganciclovir therapy: central venous catheter/site infection (six); catheter malfunction (three); and neutropenia (one).


Of nine children none treated with ganciclovir for congenital CMV had detectable progressive hearing loss. Complications associated with iv therapy occurred frequently. Currently available oral analogues of ganciclovir may facilitate earlier and more prolonged therapy for children with symptomatic congenital CMV and should be subjected to randomized controlled trials.

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