Nasal Packs for Epistaxis: Predictors of Success

INTEGRATE (The UK ENT Trainee Research Network)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


ObjectivesTo investigate factors affecting the haemostatic success of non-dissolvable intranasal packs in the management of acute epistaxis presenting to the emergency department (ED).DesignProspective cohort study.SettingA nationwide prospective audit examining epistaxis management at 113 sites in the UK over a 30-day period.ParticipantsPatients 16 years or older, presenting to the ED with acute epistaxis managed with non-dissolvable intranasal packs.Main outcome measuresThe primary outcome was pack success, defined as successful haemostasis following nasal pack removal, not requiring further packing or surgical intervention or interventional radiology.ResultsA cohort of 969 patients presented with epistaxis to the ED, with nasal packs being inserted in 54.4% by ED staff and by ENT in a further 18.9%. Overall, nasal packs were successful in 87.5%. Longer duration packs (≥21 hours) were more successful than shorter-duration packs (89.9% vs. 84.3%, χ2 P = .028). A patient survey supported longer packing duration. The most significant predictors of treatment failure were shorter packing duration (Odds Ratio (OR) = 2.3; 95% Confidence Interval (CI) = 1.4-3.8), alongside ischaemic heart disease (OR = 1.9; 95% CI = 1.1-3.3), normal admission haemoglobin (OR = 2.0; 95% CI = 1.2-3.4) and no attempt at cautery following pack removal (OR = 2.5; 95% CI = 1.4-4.2).ConclusionsThe majority of epistaxis patients are packed by the ED prior to referral to ENT. Once inserted, nasal packs are highly successful, with data supporting the British Rhinological Society guidance of maintaining nasal packs for around 24 hours. Further work is needed to explore alternatives to non-dissolvable intranasal packs to improve patient experience in epistaxis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)659-666
Number of pages8
JournalClinical otolaryngology : official journal of ENT-UK ; official journal of Netherlands Society for Oto-Rhino-Laryngology & Cervico-Facial Surgery
Issue number5
Early online date19 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020


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