Pediatric BAHA in Italy: the “Bambino Gesù” Children’s Hospital’s experience
The “Bambino Gesù” Children’s Hospital offers the largest Italian cohort of children using a BAHA. This paper retrospectively reviews the center’s experience with pediatric BAHA from its start in 1995 to December 2009, especially focusing on most debated issues, all the way from candidate selection to functional outcome and complications. A total of 47 children (21 females and 26 males) were implanted. From 1995 to 2000, a two-stage procedure was adopted in 100% (n = 22) cases. From 2001 onwards, one-stage surgery was chosen for 10 patients. Implant loss occurred in two patients (4.2%) after a two-stage surgery. Overall, the local complication rate was not different in the one-stage and in the two-stage group. The functional gain was significantly better with BAHA than conventional bone-conduction hearing aids and there was no significant difference in terms of functional outcome between the seven patients receiving a BAHA at an age younger than 5 years and the rest. The study results suggest that children presenting an indication to auditory rehabilitation with BAHA should be referred to specialized tertiary care centers. Only in such settings, a complete, multidisciplinary approach to associated comorbidities and syndromes is possible, and implantation of children at an age younger than five and one-stage surgery can be conducted safely and effectively.