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A systematic review of the probability of asphyxia in children aged <2 years with unexplained epistaxis

Rees, Philippa, Kemp, Alison ORCID:, Carter, Ben and Maguire, Sabine 2016. A systematic review of the probability of asphyxia in children aged <2 years with unexplained epistaxis. Journal of Pediatrics 168 , pp. 178-184. 10.1016/j.jpeds.2015.09.043

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ObjectiveTo determine the proportion of children aged <2 years who have been asphyxiated presenting with epistaxis in the absence of trauma or medical explanation and to identify the characteristics of the clinical presentation indicative of asphyxiation.Study designAn all-language systematic review was conducted by searching 10 databases from 1900 to 2015 and gray literature to identify high-quality studies that included children with epistaxis aged <2 years (alive or dead) with explicit confirmation of intentional or unintentional asphyxiation (upper airway obstruction). Studies of traumatic or pathological epistaxis were excluded. For each comparative study, the proportion of children presenting with epistaxis that were asphyxiated is reported with 95% CI.ResultsOf 2706 studies identified, 100 underwent full review, resulting in 6 included studies representing 30 children with asphyxiation-related epistaxis and 74 children with non–asphyxiation-related epistaxis. The proportion of children presenting with epistaxis that had been asphyxiated, reported by 3 studies, was between 7% and 24%. Features associated with asphyxiation in live children included malaise, altered skin color, respiratory difficulty, and chest radiograph abnormalities. There were no explicit associated features described among those children who were dead on arrival.ConclusionThere is an association between epistaxis and asphyxiation in young children; however, epistaxis does not constitute a diagnosis of asphyxia in itself. In any infant presenting with unexplained epistaxis, a thorough investigation of etiology is always warranted, which must include active exploration of asphyxia as a possible explanation.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0022-3476
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 18 August 2017
Date of Acceptance: 10 September 2015
Last Modified: 12 Jul 2023 11:43

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