Initial assessment in the management of adult epistaxis: systematic review

Maha Khan (Lead Author), Katherine Conroy, Kishan Ubayasiri, James Constable, Matthew E. Smith, Richard J. Williams, Isla Kuhn, Mary Smith, Carl Philpott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
27 Downloads (Pure)


Background: The initial assessment of epistaxis patients commonly includes: first aid measures; observations; focused history taking; clinical examination and investigations. This systematic review aimed to identify evidence to inform us of how the initial assessment of these patients should be conducted.

Methods: Systematic review of the literature performed using a standardised methodology and search strategy.

Results: Seventeen articles were included. Factors identified were: comorbidity, intrinsic patient factors, coagulation screening and ice pack use. Hypertension and anticoagulant use are demonstrated to adversely affect outcomes. Coagulation screening is useful in patients on anticoagulant medication. Four studies could not be accessed. Retrospective methodology and insufficient statistical analysis limit several studies.

Conclusions: Sustained ambulatory hypertension, anticoagulant therapy and posterior bleeding may be associated with recurrent epistaxis, and should be recorded. Oral ice pack use may decrease severity and can be considered as first aid. Coagulation studies are appropriate for patients with history of anticoagulant use or bleeding diatheses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1035-1055
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Laryngology & Otology
Issue number12
Early online date27 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017


  • Epistaxis
  • Comorbidity
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Hypertension
  • Risk Factors
  • First Aid
  • Therapy

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