How is epistaxis (nosebleed) due to foreign objects in the nasal cavity characterized?

Updated: May 08, 2020
  • Author: Quoc A Nguyen, MD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Answer

Foreign bodies inserted in the nose may also present with epistaxis, but bleeding may be less and accompanied by foul or purulent discharge if the object has been retained for some time. A unilateral nasal discharge suggests the presence of a foreign body.

Children easily can insert small batteries from electronic devices (eg, calculators, watches, handheld video games) into their nostrils. Not only can local irritation and bleeding result, but these can leak and cause a chemical alkali burn that may result in local tissue necrosis. Severe complications (eg, nasal stenosis) can result from batteries. Removal is a priority; removing the batteries within 4 hours of insertion is best.


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