Background Acute otitis externa (AOE) is a common condition in North
Queensland. Clinical guidelines exist for the management of this
condition. This study explores the pattern of causative pathogens and
management of AOE by general practitioners in North Queensland.
Discussion General practitioners have good knowledge of the causative
pathogens for AOE in their region. While clinical guidelines are
generally followed, there is some variation in the prescription of oral
antibiotics and use of ear syringing in managing this condition.
Results Pseudomonas aeruginosa was the most common causative pathogen
in all regions, GPs correctly identified the most common pathogens,
there was variation in the use of oral antibiotics between regions
(15.8–36.6%), ear syringing is commonly used in managing AOE
(51.3%), and most patients (68.9%) required only one GP appointment.
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