Introduction: In China, nasal cannula oxygen therapy is typically humidified. However, it is difficult to decide whether to suspend nasal cannula oxygen inhalation after the nosebleed has temporarily stopped. Therefore, we conducted a preliminary investigation on whether the use of humidified nasal cannulas in our hospital increases the incidence of epistaxis.
Methods: We conducted a survey of 176,058 inpatients in our hospital and other city branches of our hospital over the past 3 years and obtained information concerning their use of humidified nasal cannulas for oxygen inhalation, nonhumidified nasal cannulas, anticoagulant and antiplatelet drugs, and oxygen inhalation flow rates. This information was compared with the data collected at consultation for epistaxis during these 3 years.
Results: No significant difference was found between inpatients with humidified nasal cannulas and those without nasal cannula oxygen therapy in the incidence of consultations due to epistaxis (χ2 = 1.007, p > 0.05). The same trend was observed among hospitalized patients using anticoagulant and antiplatelet drugs (χ2 = 2.082, p > 0.05). Among the patients with an inhaled oxygen flow rate ≥5 L/min, the incidence of ear-nose-throat (ENT) consultations due to epistaxis was 0. No statistically significant difference was found between inpatients with a humidified oxygen inhalation flow rate <5 L/min and those without nasal cannula oxygen therapy in the incidence of ENT consultations due to epistaxis (χ2 = 0.838, p > 0.05). A statistically significant difference was observed in the incidence of ENT consultations due to epistaxis between the low-flow nonhumidified nasal cannula and nonnasal cannula oxygen inhalation groups (χ2 = 18.428, p < 0.001). The same trend was observed between the 2 groups of low-flow humidified and low-flow nonhumidified nasal cannula oxygen inhalation (χ2 = 26.194, p < 0.001).
Discussion/conclusion: Neither high-flow humidified nasal cannula oxygen inhalation nor low-flow humidified nasal cannula oxygen inhalation will increase the incidence of recurrent or serious epistaxis complications; the same trend was observed for patients who use anticoagulant and antiplatelet drugs. Humidification during low-flow nasal cannula oxygen inhalation can prevent severe and repeated epistaxis to a certain extent.
Keywords: Epistaxis; Humidification; Nasal cannula oxygen.
© 2021 S. Karger AG, Basel.