Oropharyngeal hemorrhage in patients with COVID-19: A multi-institutional case series

Collin F. Mulcahy, Melissa Ghulam-Smith, Ishwarya S. Mamidi, Punam G. Thakkar, Heather Edwards, Neelima Tummala, Lauren F. Tracy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Patients with COVID-19 who are intubated and require mechanical ventilation have been observed to have oropharyngeal bleeding necessitating otolaryngology intervention. Methods: We report five cases of oropharyngeal hemorrhage in COVID-19 patients on mechanical ventilation requiring evaluation by otolaryngologists at George Washington University Hospital (GWUH) and Boston Medical Center (BMC) from March to April 2020. Institutional Review Board at both institutions exempted this study from informed consent because there were no identifiable patient characteristics, photographs, or imaging studies included. Results: All five patients were managed conservatively; four required packing with Kerlix gauze by an otolaryngologist. Two patients had the additional requirement of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) and associated anticoagulation. Three patients improved with oropharyngeal packing; two had persistent bleeding. Three patients expired. Endotracheal tubes were repositioned less frequently due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Conclusions: Intubated patients with COVID-19 may have an increased risk of oropharyngeal hemorrhage. This may be due to anticoagulation, prolonged intubation, or decreased frequency of endotracheal tube repositioning. Otolaryngologists should wear appropriate PPE when managing this hemorrhagic complication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102691
JournalAmerican Journal of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Medicine and Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020


  • COVID-19
  • ECMO
  • Intubation
  • Oropharyngeal hemorrhage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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