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Management of recurrent epistaxis in an anticoagulated patient by temporarily closing the nares with sutures

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April 1, 2008
by Chee-Yean Eng, MBChB, MRCS, Teck-Aun Yew, MBChB, Wai-Siene Ng, MBChB, and Amged S. El-Hawrani, FRCS(ORL-HNS)


We describe an unusual case of recurrent, refractory anterior epistaxis in an 86-year-old man with two mechanical heart valves who was on permanent warfarin therapy. His numerous episodes of epistaxis were incited by chronic nose-picking and strong nose-blowing, practices that he continued to engage in despite repeated medical advice to stop. Stopping his anticoagulation therapy was not considered as a management option because of an unacceptably high risk that this would lead to a thromboembolic event. Eventually, we temporarily sutured his nares closed, and his nosebleeds ceased. The suturing was performed in the ward with local anesthesia. This procedure was simple to perform, fairly well tolerated, easily reversible, and highly effective.

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