What is the prognosis of untreated otitis externa (OE)?

Updated: Mar 09, 2020
  • Author: Ariel A Waitzman, MD, FRCSC; Chief Editor: Ravindhra G Elluru, MD, PhD  more...
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Answer

If left untreated, the infection may invade the deeper adjacent structures and progress to necrotizing (malignant) OE, a serious condition that requires prolonged treatment and often results in severe morbidity or mortality. This complication is almost exclusively seen in immunocompromised patients, such as those with diabetes, AIDS patients, those undergoing chemotherapy, and patients taking immunosuppressant medications (eg, glucocorticoids). Pseudomonas is the inciting organism in the vast majority of cases.


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