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Common Antibacterial Treatment Linked to Sensorineural Hearing Loss in Cystic Fibrosis Patients

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Alexandria, VA - An otherwise effective treatment for cystic fibrosis places patients at a high risk of sensorineural hearing loss, according to new research published in the July edition of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States (70,000 worldwide). A defective gene and its protein product cause the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus that clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections; and obstructs the pancreas and stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food.

Researchers reviewed the medical records of cystic fibrosis (CF) patients atChildren's Hospital Boston over a 13 year period, and found that seven of 50 CF patients (14%) suffered from sensorineural hearing loss. Of that group, 43 percent of those that had received aminoglycosides intravenously had received more than 10 courses of the treatment; patients who were treated more than five times with nasal irrigation of aminoglycosides were also at risk of sensorineural hearing loss.

Because CF patients are prone to suffer from infections of the pulmonary and sinonasal systems, aminoglycosides are commonly administered to CF patients because of the potent effect they have on bacteria. The treatment is considered so effective that it outweighs the well-known side-effects, which include hair cell loss, and thus hearing loss.

The authors contend that CF patients should have routine hearing evaluations that specifically target the detection of sensorineural hearing loss, especially when repeated courses of systemic or intranasal aminoglycosides have be used in treatment. They also note that further investigation through a prospective study is warranted in order to replicate these results.

Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery is the official scientific journal of the American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNSF) and the American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy (AAOA). The study's authors are Alan G. Cheng, MD; Patrick R. Johnston, MMath; Jeniffer Luz, BS; Ahmet Uluer, DOBrian Fligor, ScDGreg R. Licameli, MD, MHCMMargaret A. Kenna, MD, MPH; and Dwight T. Jones, MD.

Contact:
Matt Daigle
American Academy of Otolaryngology
703-535-3754
newsroom@entnet.org

The American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (www.entnet.org), one of the oldest medical associations in the nation, represents nearly 12,000 physicians and allied health professionals who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the ears, nose, throat, and related structures of the head and neck. The Academy serves its members by facilitating the advancement of the science and art of medicine related to otolaryngology and by representing the specialty in governmental and socioeconomic issues. The organization's vision: "Empowering otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeons to deliver the best patient care."

Children's Hospital Boston is home to the world's largest research enterprise based at a pediatric medical center, where its discoveries have benefited both children and adults since 1869. More than 500 scientists, including eight members of the National Academy of Sciences, 11 members of the Institute of Medicine and 12 members of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute comprise Children's research community. Founded as a 20-bed hospital for children, Children's Hospital Boston today is a 397-bed comprehensive center for pediatric and adolescent health care grounded in the values of excellence in patient care and sensitivity to the complex needs and diversity of children and families. Children's also is the primary pediatric teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. For more information about the hospital and its research visit: www.childrenshospital.org/newsroom.

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- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

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