Hemoptysis: Causes, Picture, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

Hemoptysis is a health condition when you cough up of blood-tinged mucus or blood from the larynx, bronchi, lungs or trachea. There may be various reasons for the blood sputum coming out of airways or other organs and lung cancer is one of the common symptoms for the disorder. However, the condition is treatable if proper care is followed at the preliminary stage.

What is Hemoptysis?

Indicating the critical condition in lungs and other parts of the body, hemoptysis is considered as one of the forms of tuberculosis. In the initial stage, the patient may notice blood coming out of nose or mouth. There are two types of this lung condition known as massive hemoptysis and mild hemoptysis.

  • Massive hemoptysis requires urgent medical attention along with professional treatment. Moreover, many patients have passed away due to consuming blood (due to lack of oxygen) in the air passages.
  • Mild hemoptysis is less dangerous than the former one and the non-smokers are the main sufferers. However, the medical professionals can treat it quickly since there is no long-term damage to health. In most of the cases are diagnosed benign and blood does not come out in the sputum for a long period.

There is a controversy regarding the verge of the massive condition and 100 mL, 240 mL, 200 mL, 1000 mL and 600 mL over 1 day is considered before treating the disease. Many of the professionals discard the huge amount of a cough up of blood alone and consider the irregular gas exchange along with hemodynamic imbalance.

Signs and Symptoms of Hemoptysis

The occurrence of the disease varies from person to person and bronchial infection is one of the most usual suspects of this case. Similar to the nature of cancer, this respiratory condition can change; hence, its symptoms have a different impact on each individual.

A plethora of reasons could be indicated by the blood-stained mucus or a cough; however, it is wise to acquire information beforehand to avoid severity. It is advisable to rush to the medical professional when you observe the following symptoms,

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Going out of breath for exercising
  • Chest pain
  • Blood in sputum
  • Low-grade fever
  • Rapid breathing or tachypnea

Even if it is generally an indication of mild bronchial infection; however, blood in a cough can refer to various health disorders. A cough is a common respiratory symptom but the patients are not always sure whether the blood appears from the respiratory tract.

Hemoptysis vs. Hematemesis

You should be aware of the prime differences between vomiting blood and coughing up blood. The former shows signs of melena or tar-like stool, blood appearing like coffee grounds, esophagogastric prodromes, black or brown blood and liver disease.

However, differing from the vomiting blood condition, hemoptysis has bright red-colored blood which has frothy, clotted and liquid outlook.

What are the Causes of this Condition?

There is a wide range of latent causes that can influence coughing up of blood and infections, trauma, lung diseases and heart conditions are only a few of them. However, a school of medical professionals has come to a conclusion that tuberculosis is the prevalent cause of hemoptysis.

Apart from tuberculosis, the following are the causes of blood-stained mucus,

  • Crack cocaine
  • Congestive heart failure due to mitral stenosis
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Anticoagulation or blood thinners
  • Bronchiectasis
  • Pneumonia
  • Pulmonary arteriovenous malformations
  • Autoimmune diseases such as microscopic polyangiitis, lupus, Churg-Strauss syndrome and Wegener’s granulomatosis
  • Trauma (motorcycle accident or gunshot injury)

Another frequently seen cause is bronchitis that leads to coughing blood-stained mucus. Moreover, hemoptysis along with bronchitis becomes life-threatening for the patients. Many patients often suffer from unexplained causes of coughing up blood and bleeding outside the airways and lungs are often the causes.


It is a terminal dilation following contamination of the bronchi and bronchioles leading to an obstacle in bronchi. The dilation damages the surrounding tissues and it results in fibrosis taking an irregular shape of a scar tissue. In addition to the context, cystic fibrosis is one of the causes of bronchiectasis.

Patients suffering from bronchiectasis along with hemoptysis are susceptible to notice opaque or think chronic purulent sputum.

Bronchitis is a swelling and an inflammation that can become chronic or acute over the course of time. Hemoptysis may result from metastatic cancer since the cancerous elements in the body lead to bleeding like bronchogenic carcinoma.

Risk Factors of Hemoptysis

There are several risk factors for the disease and the most common ones include obstructive pulmonary, cigarette smoking and anticoagulant medicines. Persistent residual mild bleeding along with blood transfusion and bronchial artery embolization is the recurrent risk factors of the disease. Mitral regurgitation and congestive heart failure are considered as rare risk factors of the health condition.

Do Children Get Affected by Hemoptysis?

For the children, the main reason for developing this disease is lower respiratory tract infection. Even if the scale of bloody mucus is rarely found among children, the children under 6 years have the tendency to consume the sputum.

Due to pulmonary tuberculosis and bronchiectasis, the children cough up blood-stained mucus. The bleeding can also be a cause of accidental or deliberate suffocation and blunt-force trauma. Nevertheless, pulmonary tuberculosis is a very rare case of the disease.

Diagnosis of Bloody Sputum

At first, the doctor runs a physical examination and inquires medical history for gathering proper information about the identification of the cause. A chest x-ray is done to get a view of mass found in the chest. In addition to the context, CT scan or computed tomography provides a detailed view of structures of your chest.

Through x-ray and CT scan, the doctor can get a clue or easily reveal the prime cause of hemoptysis.

CBC or complete blood count is the quantity of red and white blood cells found in the blood.

When you are seeking medical help to restrict the chances of bleeding, you should ask the doctor certain questions.

  • What are the reasons of blood-stained sputum?
  • What are the underlying problems of the disease?
  • Is there any chance of recurrence?
  • Is pulmonary rehabilitation program an effective option?
  • What is the impact of the medical procedure in finding a solution to the bleeding?
  • Is aggressive treatment a mandatory option?
  • What is the role of pulmonary issue treatment?

Treatment of Blood-Stained Mucus

The medical professionals initiate the treatment process after checking the bleeding amount but generally, mild or infrequent hemoptysis does not require immediate medical attention. However, you can opt for medical consultation that will check the underlying conditions of the disease that may become life-threatening in future.

The medical researchers are shedding light on the subject whether the mild level of blood-stained mucus can leave any threat of mortality in upcoming days. Protection at an early stage will pave the path to a safe life. As suggested by the name, massive hemoptysis is related to urgent medical attention since death is a common result of it.

  • Lack of carbon dioxide and oxygen in the body can lead to death.
  • The medical professionals take certain preventive ways to manage to bleed and target to limit the source for averting life threats.
  • Surgical treatment along with laser therapy can ensure an excellent outcome for the patients suffering from bloody sputum.
  • Doctors prescribe antibiotics for severe or mild cases of blood-stained sputum. In addition, to which, the chronic condition of blood-tinged mucus is highly benefited by the use of antibiotics.

Bronchial Artery Embolization

For localizing anomalies found in a bronchial artery, embolization is used. It is one of the impeccable techniques incorporating the inoculation of the liquid blood substance to restrict bleeding.

The healthcare professional makes use of a catheter through your leg into the artery that contributes to the blood supply to your lungs. At the time of applying the injection, the health care provider keeps an eye on the video screen for checking the arteries. In this way, the root of the bleeding is identified and the doctor utilizes certain substance like metal coils for limiting the blood supply.

Bronchoscopy Therapy

This therapy refers to minimizing the risk situation and decreases the life-threats to save the patient’s life. Generally, the doctor follows an initial procedure which is flexible bronchoscopy. Flexible bronchoscopy limits the bleeding risks and while treating the patient, rigid bronchoscopy is highly advantageous.

Introduced as one of the safest clinical procedures, the following are the benefits of the therapy.

  • Therapeutic bronchoscopy opens the airway by drawing blood remaining with the help of large-caliber pipes.
  • The patient’s ventilation is ensured and there is an access to the distal bronchial tree.
  • The medical professional can apply hemostasis on the places of bleeding and administer the endobronchial clotting component.

By taking help of laser therapy, the doctor can eliminate bloody tumors or lesions situated in the airways. For an instance, a type of balloon inflated in the airways restricts bleeding.

Other Options for Recovery

  • The doctor may suggest home remedies for mild or minor cases of bloody sputum and cough suppressant is an effective option.
  • If a person develops the symptoms of lung cancer, the medical professional may recommend radiation or chemotherapy to save the patient’s life.
  • Certain steroids are also suggested to minimize the risks of inflammation.
  • Vasoconstrictor agents are mainly topical medications that constrict blood vessels for lowering the risk of further development of blood-stained sputum.
  • Surgical treatment method includes pneumonectomy that eliminates one lung of the patient.

The complete recovery of the patient is dependent on the skill set of the medical professional. Additionally, the procedure of the treatment also plays an integral role in how fast the patient is going to be fine. After evaluating the patient’s condition, the doctor can estimate a certain timeframe for indicating how quickly the patient is going to full recovery and whether the patient will ever suffer from recurrence of the disease.

How do You Prevent the Disease?

  • Try to avoid taking herbal supplements like ginseng, ginkgo, and garlic because they can increase the chance of bleeding.
  • Smoking causes various health problems including lung cancer and heart diseases. Passive smoking is widely harmful to your health as well.
  • For protecting your digestive system and lungs, you need to be more careful about your alcohol intake. Moreover, a balanced diet is essential for maintaining your health efficiently.
  • If a patient observes breathlessness while doing a job, it is necessary for the person to take rests in between jobs.
  • Vaccination is important for young children and babies because it will give protection against pneumonia and flu.
  • People over the age of 65 years or undergoing a deficient immune system should take vaccination for preventing hemoptysis.

Yoga Preventing Hemoptysis


Following simple meditation techniques, yoga is immensely helpful in regulating blood circulation and preventing a wide range of diseases. Since yoga stresses on controlling your breath, adding Pranayam in your daily routine can provide you with a myriad of benefits because the pose specifically emphasizes inhaling, retaining and exhaling breath skillfully.

Moreover, Pranayam helps a person to make changes in depth and rate of the breathing pattern. Early morning is the best time to exercise and you should choose outside for inhaling in the fresh natural air. By following the movement, you can notice an improvement in the respiratory system and minimize the risk of blood-stained sputum.

Following are the yoga poses that can decrease the chance of developing further risks,

  • Kapal Bhati
  • Nadi Shodhan
  • Bhujangasana
  • Setu Bandhasana
  • Ardha Matsyendrasana
  • Badhakonasana
  • Adho Mukha Svanasana
  • Shavasana

Even though hemoptysis is a common condition among the patients, the risk of mortality is very much prevalent. With healthy lifestyle changes and habits, you should be able to prevent the signs and symptoms beforehand. Moreover, educate yourself for choosing the cautionary measures along with proper diagnosis and treatment.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *