Case Report

A Rare Cause of Epistaxis: Nasopharyngeal Leech Infestation


Leeches are rare cause of foreign body in airways. A 23-year-old male, experiencing epistaxis and difficulty in swallowing is presented. During nasopharyngoscopy, a moving leech was observed on the nasopharynx posterior wall in midline location, and removal of the leech was decided under general anaesthesia. The flexible nasopharyngoscopy was inserted, but removal was unsuccessful due to the leech’s movements. Leeches are blood-sucking parasites, so neuromuscular blocking agent was given to prevent the movement. After administration, motion of the leech was lost and easily removed undamaged. In patients presenting with unexplained epistaxis, hemoptysis, dyspnea, and foreign body sensation in the airway, leech infestation should be included as the differential diagnosis and history of contact with stream water should be questioned. We concluded that use of low dose neuromuscular blocking agents facilitates the gentle removal, and could be necessary for successful management of removal of leech under general anaesthesia.

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IssueVol 18 No 2 (2023) QRcode
SectionCase Report(s)
Epistaxis Leech Nasopharynx Foreign body

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Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
How to Cite
Bektas M, Yarimoglu R, Ozcan A, Baltaci B, Basar H. A Rare Cause of Epistaxis: Nasopharyngeal Leech Infestation. Iran J Parasitol. 2023;18(2):268-271.