Idiopathic intractable epistaxis: endovascular therapy

Radiology. 1991 Oct;181(1):113-6. doi: 10.1148/radiology.181.1.1887018.


Thirty patients with intractable idiopathic epistaxis were treated with endovascular therapy. Embolization of the internal maxillary artery controlled the epistaxis in 87% of the patients, and the success rate was increased to 97% after supplemental embolization of the facial artery. The only complication observed was transient postembolization hemiparesis, which occurred in one of the 30 patients. Intractable idiopathic epistaxis is defined as epistaxis of unknown cause that is refractory to nasal packing. Such epistaxis is commonly treated with surgical intervention, including ligation of the terminal segments of the internal maxillary artery and the ethmoid arteries. An alternative approach is performance of endovascular therapy. In our opinion, embolization is a safe and effective procedure when it is carried out by appropriately trained personnel. In most patients, its performance requires use of only neuroleptanalgesia; surgery can be avoided, and the duration of hospitalization is significantly shortened. We recommend that embolization be adopted as the primary modality for the treatment of idiopathic intractable epistaxis.

MeSH terms

  • Catheterization
  • Cerebral Angiography
  • Clinical Protocols
  • Embolization, Therapeutic*
  • Epistaxis / therapy*
  • Female
  • Gelatin Sponge, Absorbable
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Maxillary Artery* / diagnostic imaging
  • Middle Aged
  • Tampons, Surgical