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Epistaxis: a review of hospitalized patients.

Huang CL, Shu CH. Zhonghua Yi Xue Za Zhi (Taipei) 2002 Feb;65(2):74-8

BACKGROUND: Epistaxis is a common disease. That is usually self-limited and controlled by extemal compression. However, posterior epistaxis is occasionally complicated and needs hospitalization. The aim of this study is to analyze the etiology of epistaxis that requires hospitalization, and present the results of the treatments. METHODS: From June 1997 to May 1999, 44 patients admitted under diagnosis of epistaxis were retrospectively investigated. Among these patients, 7 were admitted twice for epistaxis. The demographics, administrative history, post-history and associated diseases, treatment and complications were analyzed. Noninterventional treatment comprised of nasal packing and local electrocauterization; interventional treatment included surgery and embolization. RESULTS: The mean age of the patients enrolled was 53.4 years. Men outnumbered women in a rate of 3:1. The mean length for hospital stays was 8.1 days for noninterventionally-treated patients, 11.8 days for interventionally-treated patients. Emergency room visit prior to admission was noted in 68.6% of the patients. Hypertension, nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) after radiotherapy, a history of nasal operations and smoking were four major associated diseases. The failure rate to control the epistaxis was 26.7% for noninterventional treatments and 16.7% for interventional treatments. The complication rate was 2% for the entire study, and the mortality rate was 7.8%. All the mortal patients were post-irradiation NPC patients with internal carotid artery bleeding. CONCLUSIONS: Most epistaxis patients can be managed in a noninterventional manner. Interventional treatment is only warranted in those whose epistaxis persists after adequate noninterventional treatment. For internal carotid artery epistaxis in NPC patients, embolization should be performed as soon as possible.

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