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Stark A, Cantrell S, Greenberg RG, Permar SR, Weimer KED. Long-term Outcomes after Postnatal Cytomegalovirus Infection in Low Birthweight Preterm Infants: A Systematic Review. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2021 Mar 5. doi: 10.1097/INF.0000000000003072. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33902071.

Background: Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is the most common viral infection seen in newborns. Although postnatally acquired CMV (pCMV) infection rarely results in serious manifestations in term infants, preterm infants can develop severe clinical illness. However, the long-term implications of pCMV infection of preterm infants are unknown. Few robust studies on long-term outcomes of pCMV infection have been performed, and those reported often present conflicting results. Our objective was to assess the long-term outcomes for low birthweight (LBW) preterm infants after pCMV infection.

Methods: A systematic review of English and non-English articles using MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, CINAHL, and Web of Science was conducted. Search strategies included a mix of keywords and database-specific subject headings for CMV and LBW infants. Editorials, comments, reviews and animal-only studies were excluded. Case reports, observational, experimental and randomized controlled trials that examined pCMV in preterm or VLBW infants and long-term (>1 month) impact of pCMV were included.

Results: pCMV infection in preterm infants is associated with increased risk for pulmonary and neurologic complications and increases length of stay. There is less evidence to suggest that pCMV is associated with necrotizing enterocolitis, ophthalmologic, audiologic and anthropomorphic complications in preterm infants.

Conclusions: Preterm infants with pCMV, especially those with symptomatic infection, may have long-term pulmonary and neurodevelopmental morbidity compared with their pCMV negative counterparts. Our results highlight the importance of pCMV detection and prevention in preterm infants in the neonatal intensive care unit. Large prospective studies are needed to fully define outcomes and determine if treatment improves outcomes.

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