April 13, 2015

This post is part 2 of epistaxis dogma. In the first post, we discussed the (dis)utility of prophylactic antibiotics in patients with epistaxis who require nasal packing. Here, we will take on dogma #2: Dogma #2: Patients with posterior packs for epistaxis should be admitted to the ICU for continuous monitoring due to the risk of life-threatening bradydysrhythmias. Unfortunately, the literature here is even sparser than with prophylactic antibiotics. An extensive literature search (paging research librarian) turned up two articles that were repeatedly cited.

March 30, 2015

Epistaxis is a common Emergency Department (ED) complaint with over 450,000 visits per year and a lifetime incidence of 60% (Gifford 2008, Pallin 2005). Posterior epistaxis is considerably less common than anterior epistaxis and represents about 5-10% of all presentations. Many patients with posterior epistaxis will be managed with a posterior pack and admitted for further monitoring. Traditional teaching argues that:
  1. Patients with nasal packs should be given prophylactic antibiotics to prevent serious infectious complications.
  2. Patients with posterior packs should be admitted to the ICU for cardiac monitoring as they are at risk for serious bradydysrhythmias.