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Ear Nose Throat J. 2002 Mar;81(3):178-83.

Management pitfalls in the use of embolization for the treatment of severe epistaxis.

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Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.


Angiographic embolization for the treatment of severe recurrent epistaxis was added to the traditional treatment options--nasal packing, cauterization, and surgical vessel ligation--in 1974. Since then, clinical experience has shown that this procedure is safe and effective. When epistaxis cannot be controlled with cautery, nasal packing is the most common next step. As such, it is often performed by emergency physicians and other clinicians who are not otolaryngologists. We report two cases in which intranasal neoplasms were obscured as a result of a significant distortion of the normal anatomy. This distortion was secondary to emergency-room treatment of severe epistaxis by repeated nasal packing followed by angiographic embolization. Pre-embolization angiographic studies and subsequent postembolization endoscopic evaluations did not reveal the presence of the occult neoplasms because of the presence of inflammation and edema after treatment. Clinicians should be aware that nasal packing and embolization can obscure the underlying source of epistaxis, and follow-up radiologic studies and endoscopic evaluations are essential to avoid delays in diagnosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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