Embolization procedure may stop nosebleeds, research at ISET 2012 shows


A minimally invasive embolization procedure, in which polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) particles are injected into the blood vessels to the nose, may be an effective therapy to decrease or stop nosebleed recurrence rates, according to a study being presented at the 24th annual International Symposium on Endovascular Therapy (ISET), Miami, USA. 

In the study, 84 patients had one to four blood vessels embolized. Nosebleed recurrence rates decreased as more blood vessels were embolized: 2 of 8 (25%) who had one blood vessel treated experienced recurrence as did 5 of 35 (14%) who had two vessels treated and 2 of 32 (6%) who had three vessels treated. None of nine who had four vessels treated experienced a recurrence. Minor pain and complications increased with the numbers of vessels embolized, but were temporary and treated with pain medication.

“Embolization is less invasive than surgery and is very successful, taking the pressure off the fragile lining of the nose and allowing it to heal before the arteries eventually partially reopen,” said Colin P Derdeyn, director of the Stroke and Cerebrovascular Center at Washington University School of Medicine, Barnes Jewish Hospital, St Louis, USA.

To embolize the blood vessels, an interventional radiologist threads a tiny tube (catheter) into a groin artery and advances it through the body to one or more of the four arteries that supply the nose, injecting the PVA particles. The particles temporarily stop the blood flow, halting the nosebleed.