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Otitis Externa

Douglas S. Parks, MD Reviewed 06/2019
 


BASICS

DESCRIPTION

Inflammation of the external auditory canal: 
  • Acute diffuse otitis externa: the most common form; an infectious process; usually bacterial; occasionally fungal (10%)

  • Acute circumscribe...

DIAGNOSIS

HISTORY

Variable length history of itching, plugging of ear, ear pain, and discharge from ear 

PHYSICAL EXAM

  • Ear canal: red, containing purulent discharge and debris

  • Pain on manipulation of the ...

TREATMENT

Outpatient treatment, except for resistant cases and necrotizing otitis externa 

GENERAL MEASURES

  • Cleaning the external canal may facilitate recovery.

  • Analgesics as appropriate for pain

  • Antiprur...

ONGOING CARE

FOLLOW-UP RECOMMENDATIONS

No restrictions 

Patient Monitoring

  • Acute otitis externa

    • 48 hours after therapy instituted to assess improvement

    • At the end of treatment

  • Chronic otitis externa

    • Every 2 ...

REFERENCES

1
Kaushik V, Malik T, Saeed SR. Interventions for acute otitis externa. Cochrane Database Syst Rev.  2010;(1):CD004740. [View Abstract on OvidMedline]
2
Dohar JE, Roland P, Wall GM, et al...

ADDITIONAL READING

Block SL. Otitis externa: providing relief while avoiding complications. J Fam Pract.  2005;54(8):669–676. [View Abstract on OvidMedline] 

SEE ALSO

Algorithm: Ear Pain/Otalgia 

CODES

ICD10

  • H60.90 Unspecified otitis externa, unspecified ear

  • H60.339 Swimmer’s ear, unspecified ear

  • H60.509 Unsp acute noninfective otitis externa, unspecified ear

  • H60.60 Unspecified chronic otitis exte...

CLINICAL PEARLS

  • Acute diffuse otitis externa is the most common form: bacterial (90%), occasionally fungal (10%).

  • Acute circumscribed otitis externa is associated with infection of a hair follicle.

  • Chro...

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