Malignant external otitis: report on therapy with ceftazidime and review of therapy and prognosis

Rev Infect Dis. Mar-Apr 1990;12(2):173-80. doi: 10.1093/clinids/12.2.173.


We report the treatment of 20 patients with malignant external otitis (MEO) since 1980. Ceftazidime was used in 15 patients, with cure achieved in 11 of 12 evaluatable patients. An aminoglycoside and an antipseudomonal penicillin were used in five patients, four of whom were cured. The presentation, radiographic studies, therapy, outcome, and period of follow-up in the 20 patients are reported. The previously reported cases of MEO are also reviewed, with a focus on the changing therapy and prognosis. The frequencies of diabetes mellitus, cranial nerve deficits, and treatment failures in MEO have all declined significantly since 1985 from frequencies in earlier years. We conclude that there has been an overall improvement in the diagnosis and treatment of MEO and that monotherapy with ceftazidime shows promise against this potentially fatal pseudomonal infection.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Ceftazidime / therapeutic use*
  • Cranial Nerve Diseases / etiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Otitis Externa / complications
  • Otitis Externa / diagnostic imaging
  • Otitis Externa / drug therapy*
  • Prognosis
  • Pseudomonas Infections / complications
  • Pseudomonas Infections / diagnostic imaging
  • Pseudomonas Infections / drug therapy*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Ceftazidime