Malignant otitis externa: cranial nerve palsies, skull-base erosions and prognosis

Document Type



Surgery; Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery


Introduction: Malignant otitis externa (MOE) is an infection of the temporal bone usually affecting elderly diabetic patients, which can potentially be life threatening. The causative organism is most commonly Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Objective: Objective of the study was to review our experience of managing patients with MOE. The second objective was to compare the outcome of patients with and without cranial nerve paralysis and bony erosions evident on computed tomography (CT) scan. Materials and Methods: Our departmental database was searched for all patients hospitalized with the diagnosis of MOE between January 2000 and December 2009. A total of 21 patients were included in the study based on our inclusion criteria. Variables studied were: Clinical features including edema and granulations in external auditory canal (EAC), presence of otalgia, exudate, bony erosions of EAC, mastoid or petrous apex on CT scan and diabetes mellitus or other immunocompromised state. Outcome was assessed in terms of mortality and cure. Fisher’s exact test was applied to find out effect of nerve palsies and bony erosions on outcome. Result and Conclusion: MOE is an aggressive and life-threatening infection. The mortality rate was found to be 14.3%. Analysis of findings revealed no statistically significant effect of temporal bone erosions and neuropathies on outcome

Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of Cranio-Maxillary Diseases