Influence of Gestational Malaria on the Results of Newborn Hearing Screening
Introduction: Hearing plays a key role in the social integration of individuals because it is one of the main means of contact with the external world. It has been demonstrated that the use of chloroquine phosphate in the third quarter of pregnancy may be ototoxic for the fetus.
Objective: To investigate the results of the neonatal hearing screening and to compare the occurrence of failure between newborns from malaria-infected mothers during pregnancy who were treated with antimalarial drugs and newborns from uninfected mothers who were not treated with antimalarial drugs.
Methods: Retrospective cohort study. Two-hundred and eighty-four newborns participated in the study. Thirty were allocated to the group exposed to malaria and its treatment and 254 were in the unexposed group. Participants were matched for gender, gestational age, and birth weight. Newborns underwent hearing screening using electrophysiological measurements with transient evoked otoacoustic emissions and/or automated auditory brainstem response upon hospital discharge. Screening results were compared and statistically analyzed.
Results: There was not statistically significant difference in terms of frequency of risk factors for hearing loss. The incidence of failure in the exposed and unexposed groups was 6.7 and 1.2%, respectively, and the risk of failure in the exposed group was 5.64 times higher than in the unexposed group.
Conclusions: Newborns from malaria-infected mothers treated with antimalarial drugs during pregnancy have an incidence of hearing screening failure of 6.7% and higher risk of failure when compared to newborns from uninfected mothers.
Keywords: Hearing loss, neonatal screening, malaria.