Necrotizing (malignant) otitis externa, an infection involving the ear is a relatively rare complication of external otitis. It occurs primarily in immunocompromised persons, especially older persons with diabetes mellitus, and is often initiated by self-inflicted or iatrogenic trauma to the external auditory canal.
The most frequent pathogen is Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Patients with necrotizing external otitis complain of severe otalgia that worsens at night, and otorrhea. Clinical findings include granulation tissue in the external auditory canal, especially at the bone-cartilage junction. Facial and other cranial nerve palsies indicate a poor prognosis; intracranial complications are the most frequent cause of death.
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