Keywords: epistaxis (PubMed Search)
Epistaxis can be a difficult thing to control in the ED, but there are several techniques you can learn that will make your life easier.
The majority of epistaxis cases are from kiesselbach's plexus therefore you can control it with:
Direct Pressure: Can be held with two fingers pinching the nares, or you can tape 4 tongue blades together and make your own "clothes pin" that can then be used to pinch the nares.
Vasoconstrictor and Anesthesia: A 1:1 mixture of topical lidocaine 4% and oxymetazoline can often be mixed together in the same oxymetazoline spray container enabling you to just spray it into the nares. This will often slow or stop the bleeding and provides anesthesia in case you need to cauterize the bleeding site. Some IV/IM narcotic pain medication will also help increase patient cooperation.
Visualize the bleeding site: Use a HEAD LAMP with an appropriate sized nasal speculum. You may look like Marcus Welby, MD but nothing works as well to see into the nose.
Cauterization It is best to cauterize circumferential around the bleeding site prior to directly cauterizing the actual site. Be careful with electrical cautery so has not to perforate the septum.
Nasal Packing: Instead of using surgilube to lubricate the packing; use Muprion, Bactroban or Bacitracin ointment to lubricate the packing. This will reduce the chance of Toxic Shock Syndrome.