Arterial ligation versus embolization in epistaxis management: Counterintuitive national trends

Michael J. Sylvester, Sei Y. Chung, Luis A. Guinand, Aparna Govindan, Soly Baredes, Jean Anderson Eloy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Objectives/Hypothesis: Arterial ligation and embolization are treatment modalities indicated in severe and refractory epistaxis. The purpose of this study was to examine temporal trends and compare outcomes in treatment of hospitalized epistaxis patients with ligation or embolization. Methods: This retrospective cohort analysis utilized the 2008 to 2013 National Inpatient Sample to identify patients admitted with a primary diagnosis of epistaxis, and an associated procedure code for ligation or embolization. Results: A total of 1,813 cases met the inclusion criteria, with 57.1% undergoing ligation. During the study period, treatment with ligation has trended downward, whereas treatment with embolization has remained constant. Overall, ligated patients were older (64.1 vs. 62.4 years; P = 0.027) and had higher rates of congestive heart failure (15.1% vs. 9.8%; P = 0.001). No significant differences in rates of chronic pulmonary disease, coagulopathy, liver disease, or hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia were observed between cohorts. No differences were observed in rates of blood transfusion, stroke, blindness, or in-hospital mortality; however, ligated patients had lower rates of intubation/tracheostomy (2.8% vs. 5.3%; P = 0.009). Ligated patients also experienced shorter hospital stays (3.6 vs. 4.0 days; P = 0.014) and incurred lower hospital charges ($33,029 vs. $69,304; P < 0.001). Conclusion: Compared to embolization, ligation is associated with significantly decreased hospital charges and shorter hospital stay, without an increase in complication rates. Counterintuitively, ligation appears to be trending downward nationally in its use relative to embolization. Level of Evidence: 2C Laryngoscope, 127:1017–1020, 2017.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1017-1020
Number of pages4
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Otorhinolaryngology


  • Epistaxis
  • embolization
  • ligation
  • national inpatient sample (NIS)


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