Hemoptysis is the coughing up of blood or bloody sputum. Coughing blood is a serious condition and always warrant a visit to the doctor to ascertain the cause. The doctor will take a thorough history and do a physical examination, followed by a chest X-ray. Subsequent tests eg CT scan and flexile bronchoscopy depends on the likely cause.
- Pulmonary tuberculosis
- Lung cancer
- Mycetoma (Aspergillosus)
- Metastatic cancer (cancer from elsewhere spreading to the lung)
- Acute pulmonary embolism (blood clots to the lungs)
- Congestive heart failure
- Use of anticoagulants (blood thinners)
- Systemic Lupus (SLE)
If hemoptysis is severe, patients will be admitted to the hospital for further workup. Massive hemoptysis is a medical emergency and patients may sometimes need to be managed in the ICU. The history will sometimes give a clue to the underlying disease eg recurrent hemoptysis over a period of years is suggestive of bronchiectasis while hemoptysis associated with fever is often due to pulmonary tuberculosis. Treatment is targeted towards seeking a long term solution to the underlying diagnosis.