BACKGROUND: To determine the prevalence of congenital CMV infection (cCMV) in very-low-birth-weight infants (VLBWI) and to evaluate epidemiological characteristics of VLBWI with antiviral therapy (AT).
METHODS: CMV-specific PCR in umbilical cord tissue was performed (n=3330). Univariate analyses and logistic regression models were used to identify associations with outcome.
RESULTS: 22/3330 VLBWI received AT (0.66%). 4 of these (0.12%) were PCR positive, with 2 VLBWI showing pathological screening for hearing loss. VLBWI with AT and negative PCR had significantly reduced mean birth weight (BW) and higher rates of small-for-gestational-age (SGA). Clinical sepsis, bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), use of reserve antibiotics (RA) and treatment for retinopathy of prematurity were significantly increased. We further observed a higher need of transfusion of red blood cells (RBC), fresh frozen plasma and platelets. Logistic regression (controlled for gender, gestational age, SGA and BW) showed associations for AT and BPD (OR 3.4 [1.2-10.1], p=0.024), RA (OR 20.4 [4.2-98.9], p≤0.001), transfusions of RBC (OR 11.9 [1.3-105.7], p=0.026) and platelets (OR 8.7 [2.9-26.4], p≤0.001).
DISCUSSION: All VLBWI with positive PCR received AT. We hypothesize from our data by assuming a postnatal aquired CMV infection in VLBWI with AT and negative PCR that VLBWI born SGA have a different risk profile.
CONCLUSION: Further prospective studies concerning postnatal transmission should take VLBWI born SGA into account and should study the impact of infection on short- and long-term complications in this supposed vulnerable group.