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01.03.2012 | Otology | Ausgabe 3/2012

European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology 3/2012

The management of otitis externa in UK general practice

Zeitschrift:
European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology > Ausgabe 3/2012
Autoren:
L. Pabla, M. Jindal, K. Latif

Abstract

Acute otitis externa is common and provides a heavy workload for general practitioners. We aim to determine the first-line treatment used by general practitioners in the management of otitis externa and subsequent second-line treatment in a hospital ENT clinic. In addition, this study aims to ascertain whether local and national guidelines are being followed appropriately. A prospective observational study on the management of otitis externa in consecutive patients referred to an ENT emergency clinic was undertaken. Data were collected and analysed on symptoms, initial management by general practitioners, findings and treatment in the ENT clinic. A total of 106 patients were studied. The mean duration of symptoms before presentation to clinic was 13 days; 42% of patients received no treatment by their GP prior to referral to the ENT emergency clinic. Only 14% of patients received topical antibiotics alone, whilst 44% received oral antibiotics, either alone or in conjunction with topical antibiotics by their GP. Of the 106 patients, 86% received topical antibiotics in the ENT emergency clinic and oral antibiotics were reserved for those presenting with complicated acute otitis externa. Topical antibiotics are associated with a decrease in disease persistence, whilst oral antibiotics are associated with an increase. However, general practitioners are prescribing oral antibiotics more often than required. There are few regional guidelines and no explicit national guidelines on the management of acute otitis externa for GPs to refer to. We suggest the implementation of national guidelines to aid clinical practice.

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