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South African Journal of Communication Disorders

On-line version ISSN 2225-4765
Print version ISSN 0379-8046

Abstract

STEVENSON, Lucia J.; DE JAGER, Leigh Biagio; GRAHAM, Marien A.  and  SWANEPOEL, De Wet. A longitudinal community-based ototoxicity monitoring programme and treatment effects for drug-resistant tuberculosis treatment, Western Cape. S. Afr. J. Commun. Disord. [online]. 2022, vol.69, n.1, pp.1-13. ISSN 2225-4765.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v69i1.886.

BACKGROUND: South Africa has a high burden of drug-resistant tuberculosis (DRTB) and until recently, ototoxic aminoglycosides were predominant in treatment regimens. Community-based ototoxicity monitoring programmes (OMPs) have been implemented for early detection of hearing loss and increased patient access. OBJECTIVES: A longitudinal study was conducted to describe the service delivery characteristics of a community-based OMP for DRTB patients facilitated by CHWs as well as observed ototoxic hearing loss in this population. METHOD: A descriptive retrospective record review of longitudinal ototoxicity monitoring of 194 DRTB patients undergoing treatment at community-based clinics in the city of Cape Town between 2013 and 2017. RESULTS: Follow-up rates between consecutive monitoring assessments reached as high as 80.6% for patients assessed by CHWs. Few patients (14.2% - 32.6%) were assessed with the regularity (≥ 6 assessments) and frequency required for effective ototoxicity monitoring, with assessments conducted, on average, every 53.4-64.3 days. Following DRTB treatment, 51.5% of patients presented with a significant ototoxic shift meeting one or more of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) criteria. Deterioration in hearing thresholds was bilateral and most pronounced at high frequencies (4 kHz - 8 kHz). The presence of pre-existing hearing loss, human immunodeficiency virus co-infection and a history of noise exposure were significant predictors of ototoxicity in patients. CONCLUSION: DRTB treatment with kanamycin resulted in significant deterioration of hearing longitudinally, predominantly at high frequencies. With ongoing training and supportive supervision, CHWs can facilitate community-based ototoxicity monitoring of DRTB patients. Current protocols and guidelines may require reassessment for appropriate community-based ototoxicity monitoring.

Keywords : community-based services; community health workers; decentralised services; tuberculosis; drug-resistant tuberculosis; hearing loss; ototoxicity monitoring; audiometry; South Africa.

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