Traumatic epistaxis: Skull base defects, intracranial complications and neurosurgical considerations

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Abstract

INTRODUCTION Endonasal procedures may be necessary during management of craniofacial trauma. When a skull base fracture is present, these procedures carry a high risk of violating the cranial vault and causing brain injury or central nervous system infection. PRESENTATION OF CASE A 52-year-old bicyclist was hit by an automobile at high speed. He sustained extensive maxillofacial fractures, including frontal and sphenoid sinus fractures (Fig. 1). He presented to the emergency room with brisk nasopharyngeal hemorrhage, and was intubated for airway protection. He underwent emergent stabilization of his nasal epistaxis by placement of a Foley catheter in his left nare and tamponade with the Foley balloon. A six-vessel angiogram showed no evidence of arterial dissection or laceration. Imaging revealed inadvertent insertion of the Foley catheter and deployment of the balloon in the frontal lobe (Fig. 2). The balloon was subsequently deflated and the Foley catheter removed. The patient underwent bifrontal craniotomy for dural repair of CSF leak. He also had placement of a ventriculoperitoneal shunt for development of post-traumatic hydrocephalus. Although the hospital course was a prolonged one, he did make a good neurological recovery. DISCUSSION The authors review the literature involving violation of the intracranial compartment with medical devices in the settings of craniofacial trauma. CONCLUSION Caution should be exercised while performing any endonasal procedure in the settings of trauma where disruption of the anterior cranial base is possible. © 2013 Surgical Associates Ltd.

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Veeravagu, A., Joseph, R., Jiang, B., Lober, R. M., Ludwig, C., Torres, R., & Singh, H. (2013). Traumatic epistaxis: Skull base defects, intracranial complications and neurosurgical considerations. International Journal of Surgery Case Reports, 4(8), 656–661. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijscr.2013.04.033

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