Hemoptysis or haemoptysis is expectoration of blood from the respiratory tract. The amount of blood brought out may vary from blood stained sputum to large amounts if pure blood. Hemoptysis is often indicative of serious disease of the respiratory tract such as bronchogenic carcinoma. It is necessary, however, to rule out other sources of bleeding such as the nose, mouth or gastrointestinal tract (hematemesis).

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Hemoptysis may at times be confused with hematemesis, the patient being uncertain of whether he coughed out blood or vomited it. Blood coughed up from the respiratory tract is usually bright red, frothy and alkaline while the blood from the stomach is darker in color, non-frothy, acidic and may contain food particles.


  • Respiratory: Acute or chronic bronchitis, bronchiectasis. Infections like pneumonia, pulmonary tuberculosis, lung abscess and neoplasms like bronchogenic carcinoma, endobronchial metastatic carcinoma and bronchial carcinoid tumor. Of these, bronchitis and bronchogenic carcinoma are the most common causes in United States while tuberculosis and bronchiectasis remain the leading causes worldwide.
  • Cardiovascular: Mitral stenosis, left ventricular failure, aortic aneurysm, systemic or pulmonary hypertension.
  • Hematological disorders: Leukaemias, hemophilia.
  • Immune disorders: Goodpasture’s syndrome.
  • Trauma to chest
  • Of unknown etiology: Almost 30% of patients presenting with the symptom have no identifiable cause.

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