Treatment of congenital cytomegalovirus beyond the neonatal period: an observational study

  • Lev Dorfman
  • Jacob Amir
  • Joseph Attias
  • Efraim BilavskyEmail author
Original Article


Recently, valganciclovir treatment of symptomatic congenital cytomegalovirus (cCMV) disease, commenced during the neonatal period (≤ 4 weeks), was found to improve hearing and developmental outcome. However, many children (symptomatic or asymptomatic at birth) present only after 4 weeks of age. The purpose of this observational retrospective study was to describe the outcome and safety of valganciclovir therapy in infants with cCMV who started treatment > 4 weeks of life. Of the 91children who started antiviral treatment > 4 weeks of age, 66/298 (22.2%) were symptomatic at birth; 25/217 (11.5%) were asymptomatic at birth. Treatment was initiated on average at 14 weeks of age (range 5–77 weeks) and at 53.3 weeks (range 12–156 weeks), respectively. Of the 45 affected ears in the symptomatic group, 30 (66.7%) improved and only 2 (4.4%) deteriorated, with most of the improved ears (27/30, 90%) returning to normal. In the asymptomatic group, late-onset treatment was initiated and out of the 42 deteriorated ears, 38 (90.5%) improved after at least 1 year of follow-up. Hematological adverse events, i.e., neutropenia, were noted in a minority of cases (4.4%).

Conclusion: Our study demonstrates the benefits and safety aspects of treating symptomatic and asymptomatic children with cCMV even beyond the recommended neonatal period.

What is Known:

Valganciclovir treatment of symptomatic congenital cytomegalovirus (cCMV) disease, commenced during the neonatal period, is beneficial in improving hearing and developmental outcome.

However, data of treatment started beyond the neonatal period is lacking.

What is New:

Our study demonstrates the benefits of treating symptomatic children with cCMV as well as asymptomatic children that develop late-onset hearing loss even beyond the recommended neonatal period.

This was true for symptomatic children who presented > 4 weeks as well as to those were asymptomatic at birth but experienced late hearing deterioration.


Cytomegalovirus Congenital cytomegalovirus cCMV Congenital infection Late treatment Late hearing loss Hearing loss Valganciclovir Ganciclovir 



Brainstem evoked response audiometry


Congenital cytomegalovirus




Central nervous system


Sensorineural hearing loss





The authors thank Mrs. Phyllis Curchack Kornspan for her editorial services.

Authors’ Contributions

Dr. Dorfman collected tha data and wrote the manuscript. Dr. Amir and Dr. Attias helped in writing of the manuscript. Dr. Bilavsky was responsible for protocol development, data collection and writing of the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors. All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pediatrics CSchneider Children’s Medical CenterPetah TiqvaIsrael
  2. 2.Sackler Faculty of MedicineTel Aviv UniversityTel AvivIsrael
  3. 3.Institute of Audiology and Clinical NeurophysiologySchneider Children’s Medical CenterPetah TiqvaIsrael
  4. 4.Department of Communication Sciences & DisordersUniversity of HaifaHaifaIsrael

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