Hemoptysis (coughing of blood)

Mouth | General Practice | Hemoptysis (coughing of blood) (Disease)


Hemoptysis represents the coughing up of blood from the respiratory tract. Blood-streaked sputum often is presented in minor URIs or bronchitis. More profuse bleeding may indicate Aspergilus infection, lung abscess, TB, or bronchogenic carcinoma.

Hemoptysis can be harmless such as from irritated bronchial tubes with bronchitis, or be serious such as from cancer of the lung.

Blood-laced mucus from the sinus or nose area can sometimes be misidentified as symptomatic of hemoptysis (such secretions can be a sign of nasal or sinus cancer, but also a sinus infection). Extensive non-respiratory injury can also cause one to cough up blood. Cardiac causes like congestive heart failure and mitral stenosis should be ruled out.

Causes and Risk factors

Hemoptysis occurs when tiny blood vessels that line the lung airways are broken.

Hemoptysis can be caused by a range of disorders:

(1) Infections. These include pneumonia; tuberculosis; aspergillosis; and parasitic diseases, including ascariasis, amebiasis, and paragonimiasis.

(2) Drug abuse. Cocaine can cause massive hemoptysis.

(3) Trauma. Chest injuries can cause bleeding into the lungs.

(4) Tumors that erode blood vessel walls.

(5) Vascular disorders, including aneurysms, pulmonary embolism, and malformations of the blood vessels.

(6) Blood clotting disorders.

(7) Bleeding following such surgical procedures as bronchial biopsies and heart catheterizatio

(8) Bronchitis. Its most common cause is long-term smoking.

(9) Foreign object(s) in the airway.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Treatment for hemoptysis depends on the cause and the quantity of blood. Infrequent, mild hemoptysis usually does not require specific, immediate treatment. Massive, or major, hemoptysis is a medical emergency, in massive hemoptysis, steps are usually taken to localize the source of the bleeding, control the bleeding, and assure that the patient is able to breathe. ...