An update on management of pediatric epistaxis

Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2014 Aug;78(8):1400-4. doi: 10.1016/j.ijporl.2014.06.009. Epub 2014 Jun 16.


Objective: To evaluate the work-up and treatment of pediatric epistaxis in an outpatient clinical setting, with a focus on the diagnostic utility and associated costs of nasal endoscopy and adjunctive laboratory data.

Study design: Retrospective, case series.

Methods: Children under 18 years of age seen in an outpatient clinical setting at a tertiary care hospital between 2004 and 2012 for the primary diagnosis of epistaxis were identified. Patient characteristics were analyzed from a statistical and cost perspective.

Results: A total of 175 patients with epistaxis were included. One hundred twenty-two (69.7%) were male, with a mean overall age of 9.1 years (range 5 months to 17.9 years). The duration of bleeding ranged from 0.25 to 84 months (mean 11.5 months). Nasal endoscopy was performed in 123 (70.2%) patients. Three (2.4%) had nasal polyps, and 1 (0.8%) a juvenile nasopharyngeal angiofibroma. The average age of patients with nasal masses was significantly older (16.2 years versus 10.4 years, p=0.008). Of 131 patients with available blood work, laboratory values demonstrated anemia in 27 (20.6%) patients, elevated partial thromboplastin time in 5 (3.8%), and an abnormal platelet function analysis in 1 (0.8%) patient. Those with anemia were statistically younger (p=0.001), than those with either normal labs or abnormal coagulation studies. Epistaxis resolved in 88/135 (65.2%) who had follow-up visits.

Conclusion: The majority of pediatric epistaxis cases resolved with nasal mucosa hydration. Nasal endoscopy can be reserved for teenaged patients with epistaxis, and routine laboratory screening may be useful in select cases based on the clinical judgment.

Keywords: Epistaxis; Epistaxis management; Pediatric epistaxis.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anemia / etiology
  • Angiofibroma / diagnosis
  • Blood Platelet Disorders / diagnosis
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Emollients / therapeutic use
  • Endoscopy / economics
  • Epistaxis / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Humidity
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Nasal Polyps / diagnosis
  • Nasal Sprays
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Partial Thromboplastin Time
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Emollients
  • Nasal Sprays