What is haemoptysis? 

Hemoptysis is the coughing up of blood or blood-stained mucus from the bronchi, larynx, trachea, or lungs. Haemoptysis is one of the reasons you should immediately consult your pulmonologist. 

Massive haemoptysis defines the elimination of more than 500 ml of blood in 24h and needs immediate hospitalization and treatment.

It is an experience that causes fear, but it always needs investigation to diagnose a possible underlying disease.

It should be noted that sometimes, the blood originates from the mouth, the teeth, the throat (pharynx) or even from the stomach, and it can be perceived as haemoptysis. It is important to differentiate between haemoptysis and hematemesis, because the pathological conditions that lead to them are different.

In haemoptysis, the blood, because it is mixed with sputum and air, is usually foamy and has a bright red color.

The most common causes of haemoptysis, are the following:

  • Lung cancer Bronchiectasis
  • Pneumonia-bronchitis
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Tuberculosis
  • Pulmonary vasculitis

Investigation of haemoptysis

The investigation of haemoptysis, after dismissing bleeding from the upper respiratory tract, includes a chest X-ray, blood tests, coagulation control, CT scan, bronchoscopy, sputum tests for cytology and culture, heart ultrasound (mitral stenosis) etc.

What is the treatment? The treatment depends on whether it is massive or not. It also depends on the cause of haemoptysis. Accordingly, the doctor will recommend further investigation and treatment.