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J Family Community Med. 2019 Jan-Apr;26(1):23-29. doi: 10.4103/jfcm.JFCM_187_17.

The Impact of using the term "Diabetic Ear" for the patients with Skull Base Osteomyelitis.

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Department of Otorhinolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia.
Department of Otorhinolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, KFUH, Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia.
Department of Otorhinolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, King Saud Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.



Diabetes and ear disease are some of the most widespread health concerns. The focus here is on the impact of using the term "Diabetic Ear" for patients with skull base osteomyelitis (SBM) in the context of malignant otitis externa (MOE). The aim of this study was to discover the awareness of general practitioners (GPs), residents, specialists, and consultants at Primary Health Care Centers about necrotizing otitis externa (NOE), also known previously as malignant external otitis (MOE), assess their deficiencies and provide solutions; also assist them for the early detection and possible prevention of diabetes- related ear diseases and their complications.


A cross-sectional study was conducted among a random sample of physicians (residents, specialists, and consultants) working at the Primary Health Care Centers in Al-Khobar and Dammam cities of the Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia. Data was collected using a standardized questionnaire. SPSS was used for data entry and analysis.


The total number of medical practitioners was 84. Their mean age was 33.97 (±9.55). The proportion of females was higher than males, only 28.3% of the participants responded correctly when asked about MOE. Similarly, very few were aware of the risks of MOE (2.5%), complications associated with it (17.3%) and the necessary procedures for managing patients (24.2%). The awareness of doctors in the primary health clinics about MOE was significantly better than those in hospitals (P = 0.002).


There was a significant deficiency in the knowledge of GPs on MOE. Therefore, health education and awareness programs on MOE are recommended. Furthermore, we recommend that it is necessary to encourage the use of the term "Diabetic EAR "to increase the level of awareness of physicians about MOE.


Diabetes mellitus; malignant otitis externa; skull base osteomyelitis

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