Auditory Brainstem Implants in Children—Results Based on a Literature Review
Objective: Review the literature regarding auditory brainstem implant (ABI) indications, surgical techniques, activation methods, and post-surgery follow-up in children.
Method: A search was performed in Literatura Latino-Americana e do Caribe em Ciências da Saúde (LILACS), Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System Online (MEDLINE), Scientific Electronic Library Online (SciELO), and PubMed databases from January to March 2013, and the Keywords used in the search were “brainstem” (“implant” OR “implantation”) AND (“children” OR “child”). Studies that referred to results of the ABI fitting process in children were selected.
Results: Seventy-two studies that met the criteria described in “Study Selection” were read in full; 17 studies referred to the ABI-fitting process in children, and were selected for appraisal. The studies showed the cases of 49 children (younger than 18 years old) fitted with ABIs. Evaluation after surgery showed that 47 (95.9%) of the patients improved in their ability to recognize environmental sounds and speech perception. Patients with tumors or those with cochlear or cochlear nerve malformations had good outcomes as well. Two of the children did not achieve any sound perception upon ABI activation.
Conclusions: The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) only recently approved clinical trials for ABI in patients younger than 12 years old. Previous researches showed that implantees younger than that age can achieve good outcomes, improving environmental sound awareness and oral language development. So, we propose that the FDA auditory brainstem implant indications should be extended to patients with nontumoral diseases of the cochlea and cochlear nerve and younger than 12 years old.