Auditory brainstem response in young burn-wound patients treated with ototoxic drugs

James W. Hall, David N. Herndon, Lucinda B. Gary, James B. Winkler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Burn-wound patients often require potentially ototoxic doses of aminoglycoside drugs in the treatment of gram-negative sepsis. Cochlear hearing impairment may be an unfortunate consequence of this medical therapy. We evaluated auditory sensitivity with the auditory brainstem response (ABR) in a group of 32 children with acute, severe thermal burns ranging in age from 18 months to 17 years. The mean percent of total body surface area burns was 64%. None of the subjects had a known history of hearing deficits or aminoglycoside therapy, and all yielded a normal baseline ABR upon hospital admission. Eight of the subjects (22%) showed either an abnormal ABR, or no response, at 40 dB prior to hospital discharge. The medical treatment for this group of subjects (gentamicin, amikacin, vancomycin, amphotericin B) was compared to that of a second subgroup of 7 subjects without auditory deficit but with a statistically comparable percentage of burns. The mean dosage of vancomycin was higher for the auditory impairment group than for the unimpaired group. Prediction of ototoxicity in the acute burned patient is extremely difficult as there are numerous factors that may influence the risk of cochlear damage. We conclude, however, that the ABR can be applied in early detection of auditory deficit. Follow-up audiometric assessment is advisable since auditory deficits in this population may be delayed or progressive after discontinuance of drug therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-203
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1986


  • Amikacin
  • Auditory brainstem response
  • Auditory evoked response
  • Burn
  • Cochlea
  • Gentamicin
  • Hearing loss
  • Ototoxicity
  • Vancomycin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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