K de Graaff-Korf1, Dr P Verkerk2, Dr P van Dommelen2, Dr Henrica (Irma) Van Straaten1
1Isala Clinics, Zwolle, Netherlands,
2TNO Dept of Health, Leiden, The Netherlands
Objectives:To evaluate 18-year quality assurance of newborn hearing screening (NHS) in Dutch neonatal intensive care units (NICU).
Study design: Results of the two-stage automated auditory brainstem response (AABR) screening and diagnostic examination in NICU graduates were centrally registered between October 1998 and December 2016. This registration facilitates screening, tracking and follow-up after abnormal screening results. Outcome measures are referral rates, prevalence rate of hearing loss and (trends of) coverage rates and timeliness of follow-up.
Results: Sixty-three thousand one hundred and forty infants have been screened. Referral rates were 11.9% at the first and 23.1% at the second stage. Hearing loss was diagnosed in 1631 infants (2.5%). Of these infants, 1213 (1.9%) had a bilateral hearing loss and 418 infants (0.7%) an unilateral hearing loss. Coverage rates were 98.9% at the first, 94.9% at the second stage and 93.9% for the diagnostic examination. After correction for gestational age, 95.8% of the infants had their first AABR<1 month, 84.0% of the referred infants had their second AABR<6 weeks and 72.6% were diagnosed<3 months. The positive predictive value of hearing loss after AABR screening was 69%.Coverage rates increased over time (first stage >99% from year 2011 onwards, second stage >95% from year 2010 onwards).
Conclusions: The NHS in Dutch NICU’s is a high quality screening program . Coverage rates are improving over time.
Dr HLM (Irma) van Straaten is neonatologist. She implemented and guided since1998 for 20 years a nationwide Dutch AABR NICU neonatal hearing screening program as medical coordinator as wel as research items in this field.