Signs and symptoms: Coughing up blood; Hemoptysis
Coughing up blood; Hemoptysis
Coughing up blood is the spitting up of blood or bloody mucus from the lungs and throat (respiratory tract).
Hemoptysis; Spitting up blood; Bloody sputum
Hemoptysis is the medical term for coughing up blood from the respiratory tract.
Coughing up blood is not the same as bleeding from the mouth, throat, or gastrointestinal tract.
Blood that comes up with a cough often looks bubbly because it is mixed with air and mucus. It is usually bright red.
A number of conditions, diseases, and medical tests may make you cough up blood.
Diseases and conditions may include:
Diagnostic tests that may make you cough up blood may include:
Cough suppressants may help if this condition is due to throat irritation from violent coughing. However, cough suppressants may lead airway obstruction in some cases. Always check with your doctor first.
It is very important to note how long you cough up blood. You should also keep track of the following:
When to Contact a Medical Professional
If there is any unexplained coughing up of blood, call an ambulance or go to the nearest emergency department. This is very important if your cough produces large volumes of blood (more than a few teaspoons), or if it is accompanied by severe shortness of breath, lightheadedness, or dizziness.
What to Expect at Your Office Visit
In emergency cases, your doctor will give you treatments to control your condition. You will then be asked questions about your cough such as:
The doctor will do a complete physical exam and check your chest and lungs. Tests that may be done include:
Rakel RE. Textbook of Family Practice. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: WB Saunders; 2005:402-413.
Murray J, Nadel J. Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: WB Saunders; 2000:497.