Bloody Sputum

Mouth | Pulmonology | Bloody Sputum (Symptom)


Bloody sputum is the presence of blood in mucus that is coughed up or spit up from the bronchi, larynx, trachea or lungs. Bloody sputum is also called hemoptysis and is a symptom of a variety of mild to serious diseases, disorders and conditions. Bloody sputum that is mostly clear but may have a small streak of red or pinkish color may indicate a mild condition. This can include a relatively mild irritation of the throat and lungs, such as excessive coughing due to briefly inhaling smoke.

Depending on the cause, bloody sputum can be short-term and disappear quickly and can also be chronic and ongoing over a long period of time.


Bloody sputum (spitting up blood) can come from common forms of infection in the lungs and airways, such as acute bronchitis or pneumonia. Bloody sputum can also come from cancer of the lung. Whenever bloody sputum is present and cannot be attributed to a curable condition, a complete lung evaluation is necessary. Other causes of bloody sputum are: bronchitis, viral, infections, pulmonary embolism, tuberculosis, metastasis, aortic aneurysm, aspirin, anticoagulants, mitral stenosis, heart failure, coagulopathy, trauma etc.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Treatment depends largely upon the underlying cause. Many modalities of treatment can be used, such as iced saline or topical vasoconstrictors (adrenalin or vasopressin).


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