Epistaxis: are temperature and seasonal variations true factors in incidence?

J Laryngol Otol. 2005 Sep;119(9):724-6. doi: 10.1258/0022215054798032.


Objective: To investigate the previously documented inverse association between ambient temperature and presentation rates for patients with epistaxis and seasonal variation of emergency presentation rates for patients with epistaxis.

Study design: A retrospective analysis of all consecutive emergency patients with epistaxis presenting to hospital from the community over a five-year period, 1997-2002 (1830 days), including those who required admission to hospital with epistaxis over the same period. Patients in whom there was a clear aetiology for the epistaxis (traumatic, recurrent, iatrogenic, coagulopathic and hypertensive) were excluded.

Setting: A tertiary referral centre in south-west London serving a population in excess of 2.8 million.

Method: A retrospective analysis of all patients presenting or admitted to St George's Hospital with epistaxis over a five-year period. Daily ambient temperature readings from London Heathrow airport were recorded for the same period. Presentations were correlated with monthly temperature variations and the month itself. Statistical analysis with Pearson's correlation coefficient was performed.

Results: 1373 patients with epistaxis presented to our department, of whom 386 (28.1 per cent) were admitted to hospital. No correlation is seen between ambient temperature and presentation rate for patients with epistaxis. No seasonal preponderance is noted for presentation rate (Pearson r = 0.160, p = 0.221) in this series.

Conclusion: To our knowledge, this is the largest study to date examining ambient temperature association and epistaxis, and the first to investigate presentation rate in place of admission rate. We feel that the exclusion of all patients with epistaxis not admitted to hospital introduces a bias. In this series, there is no correlation between ambient temperature, seasonal preponderance, presentation rate or admission rate for patients with epistaxis. This is contrary to previously reported findings. We do not support the view that there is a relationship between epistaxis and temperature or seasonal variation. This contradicts the current belief that incidence of epistaxis displays seasonality, and has implications for the allocation of resources for healthcare provision within ENT departments.

MeSH terms

  • Epistaxis / epidemiology*
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • London / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Seasons*
  • Temperature*