Feature Article

Managing epistaxis – a guide for GPs

Feature Article

Managing epistaxis – a guide for GPs

MICHAEL LEE, YURESH NAIDOO

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© FRIEDBERT/STOCKADOBE.COM
© FRIEDBERT/STOCKADOBE.COM

Abstract

Epistaxis is a common presentation in general practice. Although most cases are benign and easily managed, some are more serious and require further assessment. Careful history and examination, especially in patients with recurrent epistaxis, can help identify red flags and prompt further investigation. An understanding of the nasal anatomy and pathophysiology behind the condition will help guide effective management.

Key Points

  • Differentiating between anterior and posterior epistaxis is essential for effective management.
  • Red flag symptoms may indicate an underlying condition and should be identified early in the patient’s history.
  • Focused examination can identify an anterior bleeding point.
  • When managing epistaxis, withholding or reversing any anticoagulants or antiplatelet agents before treatment should be considered.
  • Nasal packing is an effective way to achieve tamponade for heavy bleeding.
  • Adequate aftercare should be discussed with patients at risk of re-bleeding.