Congenital cytomegalovirus infection in an extremely preterm newborn exposed to chemotherapy in utero

Clara Preto, Henrique Soares, Angelina Martins, Hercília Guimarães, Jorge Spratley, Margarida Tavares


Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection is the most frequent congenital infection in developed countries and the main cause of non-hereditary sensorineural deafness.
We report the case of a 27-week-old newborn (NB) with symptomatic congenital CMV infection. The pregnancy was monitored and CMV seroconversion was detected in the first trimester maternal serum screening. At 10 weeks of gestation the mother was diagnosed with breast carcinoma, submitted to a tumorectomy at 17 weeks and started chemotherapy by the 21st week. CMV fetal infection was confirmed by positive DNA detection in amniotic fluid at 21 weeks of gestation. The mother received valaciclovir therapy from the 22nd week of pregnancy until delivery.
The NB was delivered by cesarean section at 27 weeks with a birth weight of 950 g. In the first day of life, the NB suffered severe thrombocytopenia and congenital CMV infection was confirmed by positive PCR for CMV DNA in both urine and blood samples. The NB completed six weeks of ganciclovir treatment with progressive clinical and analytical recovery. Auditory evoked potentials were absent in the left ear. On the 84th day of life, the infant, due to clinical and laboratory assessments deterioration, started valganciclovir, completing a total of 6 months of treatment. Currently, at 36 months, the infant presents an appropriate development for the corrected age and has no indication for cochlear implantation.
The authors intend to point out the difficulty of treating this infection associated with a high morbimortality, as there is no definitive evidence about the potential benefit of fetal infection treatment during pregnancy, the evidences regarding the effectiveness of antiviral therapy in NB refer to a restricted group of NBs, and this therapy may be associated with important side effects. In this case, the existence of other factors that increase the NB vulnerability and potential sequelae make decisions even more difficult.


congenital infection; cytomegalovirus; deafness; extreme prematurity; maternal chemotherapy

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