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Bloody sputum is the presence of blood the mucus that is coughed up or spit up from the lungs. Bloody sputum is also called hemoptysis and is a symptom of a variety of mild to serious diseases, disorders and conditions. Bloody sputum can result from infection, inflammation, trauma, malignancy and other abnormal processes.
Bloody sputum that is mostly clear but may have a small streak of red or pinkish color may indicate a mild condition. This can include a relatively mild irritation of the throat and lungs, such as excessive coughing due to briefly inhaling smoke.
Bloody sputum can also be the result of a moderate to serious condition, disorder or disease, such as pneumonia, acute bronchitis, tuberculosis, smoking, bronchiolitis, asthma, choking, and bleeding disorders.
Depending on the cause, bloody sputum can be short-term and disappear quickly, such as when bloody sputum occurs after coughing due to briefly inhaling smoke. Short-term bloody sputum can also be due to some diseases, such as pneumonia, that can be successfully treated. Bloody sputum can also be chronic and ongoing over a long period of time, such as when a bloody sputum is due to smoking or lung cancer.
Bloody sputum can be the result of a wide variety of other conditions, including collapsed lungs (hemopneumothorax), amyloidosis, lung abscess, fungal infections of the lungs and parasitic infections of the lungs.
Bloody sputum often occurs in conjunction with other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Other common symptoms include cough, fever, shortness of breath and flu-like symptoms. The underlying disorder, disease or condition can also cause complications. For more details about symptoms and complications, see symptoms of a bloody sputum.
Diagnosing bloody sputum and its root cause begins with taking a thorough personal and family medical history, including symptoms, and completing a physical examination. This includes listening with a stethoscope to the sounds that the lungs make. Certain lung sounds point to some underlying causes of bloody sputum. For example, wheezing may indicate asthma, and a bubbling sound may point to pneumonia.
A noninvasive test called a pulse oximetry is generally performed. This involves clipping a painless device to the fingertip, which can measure the amount of oxygen in the blood. An arterial blood gas test is a blood test that measures the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood, as well as a number of other important markers of effective breathing.
Making a diagnosis also includes performing a variety of other tests to help to diagnose potential underlying diseases, conditions or disorders, such as bronchitis, lung trauma, amyloidosis, lung abscess, fungal infections of the lungs, lung cancer, bleeding disorders and parasitic infections of the lungs. Depending on the suspected cause, tests can include blood tests, lung tissue biopsy, EKG, and imaging tests, such as X-ray, CT scan, nuclear scans, and MRI.
A diagnosis of a bloody sputum and its cause can easily be delayed or missed because a bloody sputum may be mild and for other reasons. For information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of a bloody sputum.
Treatment of bloody sputum involves diagnosing and treating the underlying disease, disorder or condition that is causing it. Some conditions can be easily and successfully treated and cured, while others may require more intensive treatment and may not have an optimal prognosis. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of a bloody sputum. ...more »
Bloody sputum generally occurs in conjunction with a cough. Other symptoms that accompany bloody sputum vary depending on the underlying cause. Common symptoms include fever, shortness of breath, flu-like symptoms, labored breathing and chest pain. Other coexisting symptoms may include weight loss, fatigue, weakness, strider, wheezing, paleness ...more symptoms »
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 ...more treatments »
Diagnosing bloody sputum and its cause may be delayed or missed because in some cases, bloody sputum may not be severe enough for a person to seek medical care. In addition, diagnosing the underlying or associated disease, disorder or condition can be delayed because noticeable symptoms, such as a bloody sputum, may not occur immediately, such as in lung ...more misdiagnosis »
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