Abstract

Epistaxis is one of the most common complaints presenting to emergency departments. The aim of this study is to systematically review and critically evaluate the evidence relating to treatment of idiopathic epistaxis for guiding best practice. A comprehensive review of the English language literature was performed using PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library and Central electronic databases. The inclusion criteria were: retrospective or prospective or randomised controlled clinical trials which included outcomes in the management of idiopathic epistaxis. Twenty-three articles met inclusion criteria and were reviewed. Nasal packing still represents the first-line approach to epistaxis, although, at present, it appears that there is clear evidence in the literature to suggest that it is less effective and associated with more admissions and longer hospital stays than endoscopic electrocoagulation-based management of epistaxis. In conclusion, cauterisation should be the firstline approach for its high cost-effectiveness rate and low risk of complications. Further research is urgently needed to assess the efficacy of new biomaterials.