Hemoptysis

RESPIRATORY HEALTH

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Hemoptysis

Hemoptysis is the coughing up of blood or blood streaked sputum. Through proper history taking, it should be separated from vomiting blood. Coughing blood is not common and it is likely to serious in nature. A visit to the respiratory physician is definitely warranted to find out the cause. In our specialist clinic, our doctor will spend time taking a detailed history followed by a thorough physical examination.

A standard chest X-Ray will be done to look for any lung pathology. If upper airway cause of hemoptysis is suspected, a nasoendoscopy will be done to look for any tumour, bleeding vessels in the nose, nasopharynx and throat areas.  CT thorax scan and bronchoscopy (endoscopy looking at the airways) may be required to evaluate the cause of hemoptysis. Blood tests to look for any bleeding tendency like low platelet may be useful.

Causes:

  • Pneumonia especially bacterial infection
  • Bronchiectasis (a form of chronic lung scarring)
  • Tuberculosis affecting the lung
  • Lung cancer
  • Pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lung)
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Use of anticoagulants like warfarin

 If hemoptysis is severe, the patients will be observed in the hospital for complications and for further workup. Massive hemoptysis is a medical emergency and patients may require critical care like intubation, oxygen support and embolization of artery in the lung. Sometimes, surgery to remove the source of bleeding like a mycetoma, localized bronchiectasis may be curative.