Hemoptise: Definition, Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

It is simply that condition that causes a person to cough up blood from the lungs.

Hemoptysis can be a sign of a severe medical problem. Blood vessel problems, cancer, and infections could be responsible for the problem.

Also, hemoptysis can be caused by a nosebleed and can appear as blood alone or as a mixture of blood with phlegm.

Hemoptysis will usually require some medical examination, except if the cause is bronchitis.

However, symptoms can sometimes be confusing, especially with coughing up blood from the stomach rather than the respiratory system.

Symptoms of hemoptysis

Hemoptysis is frightening in the first instance, as it has to do with coughing up blood.

This is the first indication that something is wrong with the body’s internal system. However, many symptoms can indicate that something is going wrong and require a medical emergency.


Symptoms include situations where mortise recurs over time, fever, night sweats, unexpected weight loss, chest pains, and shortness of breath from activities that should never exert energy.

Whatever the case, any symptoms of hemoptysis should be taken seriously, and it is best to see a doctor as soon as you notice it.


The reality is that there are many causes of hemoptysis, and it is the doctor’s job to identify the exact cause of it. There are times when no cause is identified. However, it is known that the most important or most common cause among the possible ones is acute bronchitis.

Keep in mind that these cases can go away independently, but they also lead to other severe conditions.

Another common cause is a bacterial infection of the lungs, known simply as tuberculosis.

Among other possible causes of hemoptysis are:

  • Smoking cigarettes.
  • Cystic fibrosis.
  • Trauma that occurs as a result of an accident.
  • Use of crack cocaine.
  • Autoimmune disorder.
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Pneumonia.
  • Parasite infection.
  • Benign tumors in the lungs.
  • Blood thinners and other medications.
  • Lung cancer.
  • Bronchiectasis
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
  • Presence of a foreign body in the lungs.
  • Chronic inflammatory conditions.

It is also important to note that bleeding outside the airways and lungs is capable of causing hemoptysis.

A nosebleed and vomiting of blood from the stomach can cause hemoptysis, as the blood can drain into the windpipe and appear as hemoptysis.


There are many causes of hemoptise, which makes diagnoses difficult at times.

However, the first step in diagnosing hemoptysis is to carry out a physical exam and review the patient’s medical history.

Other ways to diagnose it include the following:

  1. Chest X-ray: What the X-ray does is to see if there is a congestion of the lungs, fluid area, or even masses in the chest.
  2. Computed tomography: computed tomography will have the ability to identify some of the causes of hemoptysis, thanks to the images generated with this test.
  3. Complete blood count: This test looks at the number of red and white blood cells and the cells that could help the blood clot.
  4. Bronchoscopy: This is a process where a small tube connected to a camera is inserted through the mouth into the lungs. What the camera does is capture the source of the bleeding from the inside.
  5. Clotting test: This test reveals whether clotting problems cause the bleeding.
  6. Pulse oximetry: a kind of test that checks oxygen levels in the blood.
  7. Urinalysis – Tries to check for abnormalities in the urine that can cause hemoptysis.


Diagnosing hemoptise is the first step, and once done, the most important thing to do is stop the bleeding.

Then the cause must be sought to start treatment based on the differential diagnosis.

The various treatment options include:

Bronchial artery embolization

This type of treatment is facilitated with the use of technology.

For example, a catheter passes through the legs into the artery known to supply blood to the lungs. This time a dye is injected, and the streets are seen on the screen. With this, the source of the bleeding is immediately identified.

To treat it, a metal coil is used to block the artery.


When the condition becomes this severe, a surgical option may be necessary. What the surgery will do is remove a lung.

Surgery should be the last resort when hemoptysis becomes too severe and extremely dangerous.


This can be used to treat a case of hemoptysis. In this case, a balloon that is inflated within the airway will have the ability to stop the bleeding.

It is important to note that any chosen treatment must be able to address the main reason for it in the first place.

Other treatment options for this condition include steroids when facing inflammatory disease, chemotherapy for lung cancer, and antibiotics, mainly for tuberculosis or pneumonia .

One thing to keep in mind is that all these treatments bring their side effects, and that is why it is essential to consult your doctor for a proper diagnosis and, therefore, adequate treatment.

Hemoptysis vs. Hematemesis

Hemoptysis should not be confused with hematemesis because they are different pathologies.

Hematemesis is the vomiting of blood that usually comes from the upper gastrointestinal tract; hemoptise is the coughing up of blood.

Hemoptysis typically affects the throat, while hematemesis mainly affects the stomach.

There are other differences between the two, especially blood color.

For example, blood for hemoptysis is usually bright red, while for hematemesis, it is dark red.