Things you would think they'd already studied before but hadn't: Stopping bad nosebleeds

Mass. Eye and Ear reports some of its top docs have just released findings on figuring out the best way to stop a nose bleed severe enough to warrant a trip to the ER:

According to the study, nondissolvable packing demonstrated the highest rate of failure or recurrence (57.4 percent) for initial bleed management. Chemical cautery was significantly more successful in achieving lasting hemostasis for the first bleeding episode. The authors also found that the duration of the nondissolvable pack placement had no significant impact on nosebleed recurrence. Furthermore, among patients who failed initial management, those who next underwent more invasive procedures such as cautery, embolization or surgical ligation experienced better outcomes and shorter inpatient stays.

The complete results are in the September issue of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, of course.

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    Other remedy

    My mother & my sister both told me that cutting up a thin piece of cardboard and putting it between your gum and top lip would stop the bleeding. I did it one time and my nosebleed stopped although I don't know if one was related to the other.

    Nosebleeds and Epic Nosebleeds

    Nosebleeds can be a nuisance, and be painful. This paper is talking about a different sort of nosebleed. An epic nosebleed.

    When I was about 6 my mother had the kind of nosebleed described in this paper. She leaned over the sink all day and had the presence of mind to use a saucepan to measure it (vivid memories!) until my dad got home and immediately whisked her to an ER. I was so bad that she had to be given a couple pints of blood before it could be surgically stopped. She apparently had some malformed vasculature in her nose that ripped open like an aneursym (we were living at 4000 ft altitude and she had horrendously high blood pressure). I wonder if the people in this study had equivalent problems.

    I'm amazed to know that this isn't a super rare issue, and glad that somebody decided to do research on this so that people won't have to go back again and again to no avail. Nosebleeds are a nuisance and are good to prevent and shut down ... but nosebleeds that last hours and result in pints of blood lost are frankly dangerous.

    chemical cauterization

    Didn't chemical cauterization with AgNO3 used to be the first-line ER treatment for bad nosebleeds? Because by the time someone turns up at the ER with a bad nosebleed, someone's presumably already tried gauze (or hanky, etc.) and tilting their head back.

    I used to get nose bleeds

    When I was in middle and High School. They weren't horrible (I didn't lose pints of blood), but I do remember getting them 2-3 times a week.

    I did have allergies and would take medication that would dry out the membranes in the nose that caused the bleeds.

    What worked for me was to simply hold my nose shut without tilting my head back. I was told holding the head back was not the best option, and holding it while my head was level seemed to work ok.