Epidemiology of epistaxis in the emergency department of a southern European tertiary care hospital

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OBJECTIVE: Epistaxis is the most common rhinological emergency seen in the emergency department. The purpose of this study was to evaluate epidemiological data of epistaxis in a southern European tertiary care hospital.

METHODS: A retrospective study was conducted during the period between January 2009 and December 2015. We analyzed the distribution by cross-referencing the demographic variables, destination after medical discharge, inpatient characteristics (major comorbid diseases, medication, bleeding localization and treatment) and health-care costs with the disease.

RESULTS: Epistaxis accounted for approximately 1 in 30 visits to the ED and 77 out of a population of 100,000 was served by that ED. Overall, 71,624 patients were treated and 2371 patients presented with epistaxis (3.31%). One-thousand three-hundred and twenty-seven cases were male and 1044 female (p <.001). The mean age was 56 years (±26). Age distribution was bimodal, with peaks among those <10 years and >70 (p <.001). Epistaxis was more common in the winter months (p < 0.001). The main referral destinations (6.8%) included outpatient (2.9%) and inpatient (1.9%) services. Hospitalization was more frequent between the ages of 60 and 80 years (p =.029), and the major comorbidity was hypertension (47.8%). Medication interfering with haemostasis was documented in 30.4%. Most inpatient epistaxis was managed in a non-interventional manner and only. 5% of patients needed surgery. The mean total health-care cost was 69.8 € per episode.

CONCLUSION: Emergency epistaxis was more frequent in men, the elderly, patients with underlying comorbidities, during the winter months, and showed a higher risk of referral and hospitalization with increasing age (as a result of an aging population in western countries). The main hospital expenses for epistaxis are related to hospitalization and health care costs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-338
Number of pages9
JournalActa otorrinolaringológica española
Early online date5 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018


  • Emergency
  • Epidemiology
  • Epidemiología
  • Epistaxis
  • Urgencia


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