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Concept: Kiesselbach's plexus


This study aims to provide guidance regarding patient selection and timing of intervention with sphenopalatine artery (SPA) ligation by defining ‘severe epistaxis’. An analysis of all patients undergoing SPA ligation (January 2002-2010) was performed. SPA ligation was deemed necessary if at least one of the four identified criteria was fulfilled. The same analysis was also performed on all patients admitted with epistaxis who did not undergo SPA ligation over a 6-month period. All 27 patients who underwent SPA ligation met at least one of the criteria selected. Uncontrolled epistaxis (21/27) was fulfilled most often. In comparison, only 4/71 patients admitted with epistaxis who did not undergo SPA ligation fulfilled any single criterion. All criteria were satisfied in a significantly higher number of cases in the SPA group (p < 0.001) The criteria studied proved helpful in identifying patients admitted to hospital with epistaxis who had failed conservative measures.

Concepts: Natural selection, Patient, Hospital, Selection, Sphenopalatine artery, Epistaxis, Kiesselbach's plexus, Sphenopalatine foramen


Abstract Conclusion: We consider sphenopalatine artery ligation to be a safe and effective treatment of posterior epistaxis as the long-term need for revision surgery and the complication rates are low. Surgery should be considered earlier in the treatment of posterior epistaxis. Objectives: Posterior epistaxis is common and surgical endoscopic ligation of the sphenopalatine arteries is indicated in severe cases. Knowledge about long-term effects and complications is sparse. Methods: Within 2001-2006, 78 patients underwent endonasal endoscopic-guided surgery for posterior epistaxis in one of the eight ENT clinics in Denmark treating these patients. In 2011, 45 patients were still alive and eligible for the study. Patients were contacted by telephone and invited to complete an interview questionnaire on late adverse affects and recurrence. Results: In all, 42 of 45 patients participated in the mean follow-up. The mean follow-up was 6.7 years: 90% of patients (n = 38) obtained an effect of the treatment during follow-up; 78% (n = 33) had no recurrent epistaxis, 12% (n = 5) had recurrent epistaxis but only needed non-surgical specialized treatment; 10% (n = 4) required revision surgery due to recurrent epistaxis within the 6.7 mean years of follow-up; and 26% of the patients had minor postoperative complications, permanent nasal crusting being most persistent and frequent.

Concepts: Blood, Hospital, Effect, Effectiveness, Affect, Sphenopalatine artery, Epistaxis, Kiesselbach's plexus


BACKGROUND: The advent of endoscopic sphenopalatine artery ligation (ESPAL) for the control of posterior epistaxis provides an effective, low-morbidity treatment option. In the current practice algorithm, ESPAL is pursued after failure of posterior packing. Given the morbidity and limited effectiveness of posterior packing, we sought to determine the cost-effectiveness of first-line ESPAL compared to the current practice model. METHODS: A standard decision analysis model was constructed comparing first-line ESPAL and current practice algorithms. A literature search was performed to determine event probabilities and published Medicare data largely provided cost parameters. The primary outcomes were cost of treatment and resolution of epistaxis. One-way sensitivity analysis was performed for key parameters. RESULTS: Costs for the first-line ESPAL arm and the current practice arm were $6450 and $8246, respectively. One-way sensitivity analyses were performed for key variables including duration of packing. The baseline difference of $1796 in favor of the first-line ESPAL arm was increased to $6263 when the duration of nasal packing was increased from 3 to 5 days. Current practice was favored (cost savings of $437 per patient) if posterior packing duration was decreased from 3 to 2 days. CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates that ESPAL is cost-saving as first-line therapy for posterior epistaxis. Given the improved effectiveness and patient comfort of ESPAL compared to posterior packing, ESPAL should be offered as an initial treatment option for medically stable patients with posterior epistaxis.

Concepts: Costs, Decision theory, Sensitivity analysis, Sphenopalatine artery, Decision analysis, Info-gap decision theory, Epistaxis, Kiesselbach's plexus


Transnasal endoscopic sphenopalatine artery ligation is becoming the procedure of choice for surgical management of intractable posterior epistaxis. Landmarks for localization of the sphenopalatine foramen can assist in rapid surgical exposure of the sphenopalatine artery.

Concepts: Foramina of the skull, Sphenopalatine artery, Morphometrics, Epistaxis, Kiesselbach's plexus, Sphenopalatine foramen


Endoscopic sphenopalatine artery ligation is widely accepted as effective and safe for acute spontaneous epistaxis that is unresponsive to conservative management. As with many new procedures, it has been progressively adopted as common practice, despite a limited evidence base for its efficacy. Early reviews called for comparative trials to support its adoption, but subsequent literature largely consists of case series and narrative reviews. These have attempted to derive an algorithm to establish its place in management, but consensus is still lacking. Intuitively, although there are theoretical objections, an operation regarded as relatively simple, fast and safe hardly seems to demand high-level evidence of efficacy. Rhinologists may be influenced by years of personal experience and success with the technique. However, estimates of the effect size and the added contribution to traditional surgical management are lacking. If the procedure could be shown to dramatically influence outcome, it should be standard practice and indispensable for all patients requiring operative intervention.

Concepts: Evidence-based medicine, Randomized controlled trial, Effectiveness, Efficacy, Meta-analysis, Sphenopalatine artery, Epistaxis, Kiesselbach's plexus


To optimize the outcome of transnasal endoscopic sphenopalatine artery ligation (TESPAL) by determining the key surgical steps and applying them accordingly.

Concepts: The Key, Sphenopalatine artery, Epistaxis, Kiesselbach's plexus, Sphenopalatine foramen


The aim of this study is to present our management protocol of sphenopalatine artery bleeding, demonstrating that nasoendoscopic cautery (NC) was a more effective method than the nasal packing, in terms of shorter inpatient stay and reduced complications rate. We present ten posterior epistaxis not resolved by nasal packing. Tabotamp(®) was placed in the area of sphenopalatine foramen and/or in those parts of the posterior nasal cavity, where it was suspected that bleeding origins. In two cases, the bleeding was resolved in this way, instead eight cases needed of subperiosteal cauterization of sphenopalatine artery by Dessi bipolar forceps (MicroFrance(®)). 4 of these 8 patients evidenced a remarkable bleeding removing nasal packing (Hb before-nasal packing = 15 ± 0.69 versus Hb after-nasal packing = 13.3 ± 0.81; t student = 2.94; p value = 0.025). These four patients showed a deviation of the nasal septum ipsilateral to epistaxis, and according our experience, a traumatism of sphenopalatine area can be caused by Merocel(®) nasal packing in this condition. During follow-up, no recurrences of nasal bleeding have been observed in such patients. Nasal packing must be considered if posterior epistaxis is severe, but always taking into account the specific anatomy of patient and in particular septal spurs that can further compromise sphenopalatine artery. In our experience, the endoscopic endonasal cauterization of the sphenopalatine branches represented a safe and effective procedure.

Concepts: Blood, Anatomy, Nasal cavity, Sphenopalatine artery, Nasal septum, Nasopalatine nerve, Epistaxis, Kiesselbach's plexus


In severe cases of epistaxis, in spite of several procedures described in the literature for its management, surgical treatment has been recognized by most authors as 1 of the most effective, especially when it includes ligation and/or electrocoagulation of the nasal branches of the sphenopalatine artery. The objective of this study is to determine the importance of ethmoid crest resection during sphenopalatine artery surgery, in the management of severe epistaxis.

Concepts: Surgery, Coronary artery bypass surgery, Sphenopalatine artery, Bones of the head and neck, Epistaxis, Kiesselbach's plexus, Sphenopalatine foramen, Ethmoid sinus


Many patients with severe epistaxis benefit from endoscopic intervention for control of bleeding. Critical maneuvers to improve endoscopic visualization during surgery include head-of-bed elevation, application of topical vasoconstrictors, and local injection of vasonstrictors. Controlled, hypotensive anesthesia may also decrease intraoperative blood loss and improve visualization during surgery. Intractable posterior epistaxis can be controlled with high rates of success with endoscopic sphenopalatine artery ligation. Although less common, intractable anterior epistaxis may be controlled by anterior ethmoid artery ligation once this artery is identified as the primary source. Less common sources of severe epistaxis are also discussed in this article.

Concepts: Blood, Surgery, Bleeding, Anesthesia, Al-Andalus, Sphenopalatine artery, Epistaxis, Kiesselbach's plexus


The treatment of epistaxis sometime requires an embolization. This may result in ischemic palate necrosis, oronasal communication and dental losses. The repair of these lesions is complex.

Concepts: Blood vessel, Management, Sphenopalatine artery, Epistaxis, Kiesselbach's plexus