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Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a condition characterised by chronic pulmonary infection and progressive lung damage with those affected requiring frequent course of antibiotics. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is by far the most common chronic pathogen in CF. While measures comprising regular screening for initial onset of P. aeruginosa infection, aggressive therapy for eradication of early carriage and stringent infection control precautions have extended the age of onset, the majority of patients still eventually develop chronic infection. An aminoglycoside combined with a β-lactam antibiotic is the first-line treatment option for patients with P. aeruginosa requiring intravenous antibiotics and therefore most patients with CF will be exposed to intravenous aminoglycosides during their lifetime, often on multiple occasions.
Several studies, including that by Vijayasingam and colleagues in this current issue of Thorax, provide compelling evidence that patients with CF have an increased risk for hearing impairment.1 The findings of Vijayasingam and colleagues concur with most other studies in CF that hearing impairment is closely associated with cumulative exposure to aminoglycosides and increasing age.1–4 A degree of hearing loss was common, being found in 57 (45%) of 126 individuals. Ten (8%) of the subjects had hearing impairment in frequencies 0.5–4 kHz critical for speech recognition; half of these were under 50 years of age and all but one had a documented history of intravenous aminoglycoside exposure. As the study excluded any subjects who were already using hearing aids these figures may be an underestimation of significant hearing loss affecting speech recognition in the population at their CF centre. Hearing impairment is …
Contributors JA is the sole contributor to the article.
Funding The author has not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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