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Ann Emerg Med. 1995 May;25(5):592-6.

Posterior epistaxis: clinical features and acute complications.

Author information

1
Department of Emergency Medicine, Akron City Hospital, Ohio, USA.

Abstract

STUDY OBJECTIVE:

To describe the clinical features, evaluate the incidence of serious complications, and identify factors associated with rebleeding in adults with acute posterior epistaxis.

DESIGN:

Retrospective chart review.

SETTING:

University-affiliated community teaching hospital.

PARTICIPANTS:

We studied 88 episodes of posterior epistaxis in 81 patients (mean age, 64.3 years; range, 27 to 96 years) who were treated in the emergency department and hospitalized during a 6-year period. Inclusion criterion was active hemorrhage into the posterior pharynx without identifiable anterior bleeding or severe nasal hemorrhage refractory to anterior packing. Patients with anterior epistaxis were excluded.

RESULTS:

Posterior epistaxis accounted for 5% of all cases of epistaxis. The most common factors associated with posterior epistaxis were a history of hypertension in 39 patients (48%) and previous epistaxis in 30 (37%). Of 57 patients who reported duration of epistaxis, 39 (68.4%) had nasal hemorrhage for less than 12 hours before ED presentation, and 13 patients (22.8%) had nasal bleeding that lasted more than 24 hours. Bleeding was recorded as moderate or severe for 88% of patients. All patients were treated with posterior nasal packing in the ED (73% with traditional gauze packing, 15% with balloon, and 12% with tampon). After admission, 16 patients (19.8%) required surgical intervention, 17 (21%) experienced acute sinusitis, 10 (12.3%) received blood transfusions, and 3 (3.7%) were intubated. Rebleeding occurred in 24 patients (29.6%), with 13 episodes (44.1%) occurring less than 24 hours after admission. Factors associated with rebleeding were posterior epistaxis described as "severe" (OR, 2.53; 95% CI, .88 to 7.39; chi 2 = 2.84, 1 df, P = .92) and pack removal within 48 hours after admission (OR, 3.07; 95% CI, .98 to 9.88; chi 2 = 3.66, 1 df, P = .056). Factors that failed to predict rebleeding included age, prior hypertension, anticoagulant use, vital signs, and type of posterior pack used (gauze or balloon).

CONCLUSION:

Although posterior epistaxis is an uncommon otolaryngologic emergency, many patients experience clinically significant complications. Rebleeding was associated with severe posterior epistaxis and pack removal within 48 hours after admission.

PMID:
7741333
DOI:
10.1016/s0196-0644(95)70169-9
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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