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Treatment plans to treat bloody sputum are individualized depending on the underlying cause, the presence of coexisting diseases, the age and medical history of the patient, and other factors. Treatment generally involves a multifaceted plan that addresses the cause, decreases the risk of developing serious complications, and helps a person to breathe and rest comfortably.
If the underlying cause of bloody sputum results in low levels of oxygen in the blood, supplemental oxygen is generally used. There are a variety of devices that are worn on the face to deliver different concentrations of supplemental oxygen. Oxygen is delivered to the lungs through mechanical ventilation in cases of severe breathing difficulty or respiratory failure.
Quitting smoking can improve a bloody sputum due to lung disease and smoker's cough and reduce the risk of developing lung cancer. Lung cancer is treated by an individualized treatment plan that may include surgical removal of a lung or portion of a lung, chemotherapy and/or radiation.
When bloody sputum is caused by a viral infection, such as viral pneumonia, the treatment is rest, increased fluids and using a vaporizer. When a bloody sputum is caused by a bacterial infection, such as in bacterial pneumonia, antibiotics are prescribed as well.
Bloody sputum can be due to trauma to the chest that results in a collapsed lung condition, such as pneumothorax or hemopneumothorax. These conditions are treated by emergency procedures that include re-inflating the lung and draining the blood by insertion of a chest tube.
Some other life-threatening causes of bloody sputum, such as bleeding disorders, airway obstruction or a foreign body that cannot be easily dislodged also require hospitalization and intensive care. Tracheotomy and life support measures, including mechanical ventilation may be needed in some cases.
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