Epistaxis management in children

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Objectives

Guidance for the assessment and management of children presenting with epistaxis.

Scope

A guideline is intended to assist healthcare professionals in the choice of disease-specific treatments.

Clinical judgement should be exercised on the applicability of any guideline, influenced by individual patient characteristics. Clinicians should be mindful of the potential for harmful polypharmacy and increased susceptibility to adverse drug reactions in patients with multiple morbidities or frailty.

If, after discussion with the patient or carer, there are good reasons for not following a guideline, it is good practice to record these and communicate them to others involved in the care of the patient.

Audience

Emergency department medical and nursing staff.

Introduction

Epistaxis is a common childhood complaint and is normally benign and self-limiting. Epistaxis in children is most commonly caused by minor trauma such as nose picking. Alternative diagnosis to consider include recent URTI, allergic rhinitis, nasal foreign body and more rarely bleeding disorders. Epistaxis is unusual in children under the age of two and alternative diagnosis should be considered. Most bleeding occurs anteriorly from Little’s area.

Assessment

History:

  • Length of bleeding (if > 30 mins despite appropriate 1st aid then consider coagulopathy)
  • Side of bleeding
  • Periodicity of episodes (how many weeks/ months)
  • Frequency of episodes
  • Associated nasal discharge (if unilateral consider foreign body)
  • History of nasal trauma (old or new)
  • Bleeding from other sites Past history of easy bruising/ bleeding problems/ haematological abnormality/malignancy
  • Family history of bleeding disorders
  • Medications e.g. warfarin, nasal corticosteroids.
Management

ABC approach with resuscitation as appropriate.

See flow diagram below for specific management options.

 

Dosing Guidance for topical application of Lidocaine (5%) & Phenylephrine (0.5%) spray

   Age   

   Estimated or actual Weight (kg)   

   Maximum number of sprays    

1

10

1

2

12

1

3

14

2

4

16

2

5

18

2

6

25

3

7

28

4

8

31

4

9

34

5

10

37

5

11

40

6

12+

43+

Max 8

 

Age

Formula                                                           

0-12 months       

Weight (in kg) = (0.5 x age in months) + 4

1-5 years

Weight (in kg) = (2 x age in years) + 8

6-12 years

Weight (in kg) = (3 x age in years) + 7

 

Instructions for use:                                                                   

Prime spray nozzle after attachment by spraying 3 times before administering to patient. 

For Epistaxis:

Can be sprayed onto a cotton wool ball and applied up nostril or sprayed directly to point of bleeding. 

For Tonsillar bleeding:

Spray directly on to the point of bleeding. 

Editorial Information

Last reviewed: 16 September 2019

Next review: 31 October 2021

Author(s): Steven Foster

Approved By: Clinical Effectiveness