Epistaxis

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Epistaxis is a nosebleed. A nosebleed occurs when the blood vessels near the surface of the nasal cavity are injured or damaged.

CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

RISKS:

Cautery treatment may cause an opening in your nasal septum. The septum is the thin wall in the middle of your nose that separates your nostrils. Nasal packs may cause discomfort or damage to nasal tissues. They may increase bleeding, make it difficult to breath, or lead to a serious infection. Without treatment, your nose may continue to bleed. You may have trouble breathing or you could lose a lot of blood. This can be life-threatening.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Medicines:

  • Vasoconstrictor: Caregivers may apply this medicine into the inside of your nose or to the nasal packing. A vasoconstrictor helps make the blood vessels narrower to control the bleeding. This also decreases the swelling inside your nose and helps you breathe easier.

  • Sedation: You may need sedation if you have nasal packing or other treatments that are uncomfortable.

  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to help treat or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.

  • Blood pressure medicine: This is given to lower your blood pressure. A controlled blood pressure helps protect your organs, such as your heart, lungs, brain, and kidneys. Take your blood pressure medicine exactly as directed.

Tests:

  • Blood tests: You may need blood taken to give caregivers information about how your body is working. The blood may be taken from your hand, arm, or IV.

  • CT scan: This test is also called a CAT scan. An x-ray and computer are used to take pictures of your skull and brain. You may be given dye, also called contrast, before the test. Tell the caregiver if you are allergic to dye, iodine, or seafood.

  • MRI: This scan uses powerful magnets and a computer to take pictures of your brain. It will also take pictures of the blood vessels and structures in your head. You may be given dye, also called contrast, before the test. Tell caregivers if you are allergic to dye, iodine, or seafood. Remove all jewelry, and tell caregivers if you have any metal in or on your body. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell caregivers if you cannot lie still or are anxious or afraid of closed spaces.

Treatments:

  • Nasal packing: Your caregiver may pack your nose with a cotton plug, tampon, or gauze bandage to control bleeding.

  • Cautery: Your caregiver uses an electrical device or a chemical to seal the injured blood vessels. This may be done to stop bleeding or to prevent more bleeding.

  • Balloon device: A balloon device may be placed at the back of your nose to stop the bleeding.

  • Embolization: A blocking agent is injected into the bleeding vessel to stop the blood flow.

  • Surgery: You may need surgery to tie an artery if the bleeding does not stop. Surgery may also be needed to correct a deformity or fix damaged tissues in the nose. Blood clots in the nose may also be removed to prevent infection. Injury to the other parts of the nose, nerves, or blood vessels may also be treated with surgery.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Epistaxis (Inpatient Care)

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