Introduction: Epistaxis is one of the most common otolaryngology emergencies. There is no published data in the West Indian literature regarding its management. This study was conducted to describe the clinical characteristics and treatment outcomes of patients admitted to the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) with epistaxis and to determine the prevalence of hypertension in patients presenting with epistaxis.
Methods: A retrospective chart review was performed on 40 patients admitted to the Ear, nose and throat ward through the Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department at the UHWI between February 2007 and February 2014 with a diagnosis of epistaxis. The data were analysed using SPSS statistics 22 software.
Results: There were 40 patients with a diagnosis of epistaxis admitted to the ear, nose and throat ward. There were 22 males and 18 females. The mean age was 52.5 years (standard deviation [SD], 17.8). The prevalence of hypertension among patients with epistaxis was 72.5%. The commonest cause of epistaxis was idiopathic accounting for 72.5%, followed by nasal masses 10% and trauma and aspirin each 5%. Anterior nasal bleeding accounted for 52.5% of cases. Ninety-five per cent of patients were managed initially with nasal packing. Surgical measures were carried out in 18% of patients who had initially been packed (p = 0.046). The overall mean SD hospital stay was six (6.75) days. There was no mortality in this series.
Conclusions: The majority of nose bleeds in this review were anterior. Idiopathic remains the leading cause. Most cases of epistaxis can be managed successfully with non-surgical treatment. There is a high prevalence of elevated blood pressure readings and hypertension among this group of patients with epistaxis.