Epistaxis in hereditary haemorrhagic telangiectasia

Rhinology. 1996 Sep;34(3):176-8.


Hereditary haemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT) is characterized by easily bleeding telangiectases of the skin and mucosa. Epistaxis is the most common symptom of HHT. Larger arteriovenous malformations (AVM) occur in the lungs (in up to 33% of the patients), brain (in up to 11% of patients), and liver. These may cause severe complications which can be prevented by early therapy. To gain insight in the characteristics of epistaxis in HHT, 171 persons were investigated, who either had HHT or participated in a screening programme for relatives of HHT patients. Of these, 58 persons had HHT. Epistaxis without signs of HHT was present in 12 persons, whereas 10% of HHT patients did not have epistaxis. Seventeen HHT patients with epistaxis had visited an otorhinolaryngologist before, without a correct diagnosis of HHT being made. Telangiectases were most common on lips, tongue, the nasal septum, and the turbinates. In view of the prevalence of visceral AVM and the associated complications, HHT patients presenting to an otorhinolaryngologist should be encouraged to engage in a screening programme for these AVM.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Epistaxis / epidemiology
  • Epistaxis / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Recurrence
  • Telangiectasia, Hereditary Hemorrhagic / complications*
  • Telangiectasia, Hereditary Hemorrhagic / prevention & control