What is the general workup approach to epistaxis (nosebleed)?

Updated: May 08, 2020
  • Author: Quoc A Nguyen, MD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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If a history of persistent heavy bleeding is present, obtain a hematocrit count and type and cross match. If a history of recurrent epistaxis, a platelet disorder, or neoplasia is present, obtain a complete blood count (CBC) with differential. The bleeding time is an excellent screening test if suspicion of a bleeding disorder is present. Obtain the international normalized ratio (INR)/prothrombin time (PT) if the patient is taking warfarin or if liver disease is suspected. Obtain the activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT) as necessary.

With regard to visual evaluation, direct visualization with a good directed light source, a nasal speculum, and nasal suction should be sufficient in most patients. However, computed tomography (CT) scanning, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or both may be indicated to evaluate the surgical anatomy and to determine the presence and extent of rhinosinusitis, foreign bodies, and neoplasms. Nasopharyngoscopy may also be performed if a tumor is the suspected cause of bleeding.

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