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July 30, 2013

Death From a Severe Nosebleed

Image by RIs from Wikipedia
Attila the Hun was one of the most feared enemies of the Roman Empire. Ruler of the Huns from the year 434 until his death in 452, his empire stretched from Ural River to the Rhine River and from the Danube River to the Baltic Sea.

Although there are numerous theories as to how he died, the conventional account is that he died from a severe nosebleed on his wedding night.

Some may scoff that only people in historical times die from nosebleeds... but it unfortunately still even happens in the present.

Yes... a life-threatening nosebleed can be fatal whether a historical figure like Attila or a modern day individual. And I am talking in people who are otherwise completely healthy (no hemophilia, ITP, Osler-Weber-Rendu, etc).

Indeed, a Seattle lawyer died from a nosebleed in 2008.

Two British individuals died from a nosebleed in 2008 and in 2011.


And those are just the ones that are reported in the media.

It is estimated that in 1999, 4 out of 2.4 million deaths in the United States was due to a nosebleed [link].

Fatal nosebleeds in a normal healthy individual are almost always due to an arterial bleed, notably the sphenopalatine artery located in the back of the nose. Other less common fatal nosebleeds may be attributable to the ethmoid arteries located in the top of the nasal cavity.

Treatment of such life-threathening nosebleeds depends on the situation, but may include:

Nasal packing
• Embolization
• Surgical

Cautery as shown in the video below is rarely successful.


Sources:
Man died after suffering two-hour nose bleed. Mirror News 11/24/11

Man Dies From Severe Nosebleed. ABC News 12/2/11

Woman sues hospital after her husband dies of nosebleed. KOMONews 5/4/13


Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids. Google+ Christopher Chang, MD Bio

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