Can epistaxis or nosebleeds be a cause of death?
Yes, it can, but it is extremely rare.
... nosebleeds are rarely fatal, accounting for only 4 of the 2.4 million deaths in the U.S. in 1999 .
The main issue is that epistaxis can be a sign of potentially fatal diseases:
The instances in which nosebleed is potentially fatal are those in which there is a history of recent head injury, severe arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease or an underlying vascular tumor in the nasal chambers. Fatal nasal bleeding has not been reported in children .
Here are some causes which can lead to fatal complications if left untreated :
- Coagulation disorders
- Head injury
- Myelodysplastic syndromes - Epistaxis
Death by massive hemorrhage can occur when epistaxis is the result of a ruptured aneurysm [4, 5, 6]:
An instance of fatal epistaxis is reported in a patient with an unsuspected aneurysm of the infraclinoid portion of the internal carotid artery. There was no known history of trauma. The aneurysm was subsequently detected on an old X-ray film. Epistaxis from an aneurysm at this site is nearly always preceded by significant head trauma and is associated with cranial nerve palsies, a syndrome with a high mortality. Epistaxis from rupture of a non-traumatic aneurysm is very rare .
Any injury, that results in external bleeding can lead to death, since it is a breach in the body's defenses and an entry point for pathogens.
When you have nose bleeding the blood must be coming from somewhere. Usually from inside your body.
That means there is a hole in your body which is big enough for blood to stream out.
That in return also means that through the same hole things can get back inside your body.
For example any kind of virus or bacteria.
That does not mean every bleeding is potentially lethal. But depending on the environment the body is in the chance of infection is certainly greater with a lesion (hole in the circulatory system) than without it.