Bloody sputum (coughing up blood or bloody mucus or hemoptysis) can come from common forms of infection in the lungs and airways, such as acute bronchitis or pneumonia. Bloody sputum can be a result of lung cancer. Whenever bloody sputum is present and cannot be attributed to a curable condition, a complete lung evaluation is warranted. Bloody sputum is also referred to as hemoptysis.
Causes of bloody sputum include lung infection with pneumonia, bronchitis, tuberculosis, parasites (hookworm), cystic fibrosis, nosebleed (epistaxis), pulmonary edema, pulmonary embolism, chest trauma, mitral stenosis, lung cancer, and Goodpasture syndrome.
Related Symptoms & Signs
Other causes of bloody sputum
- Bleeding Disorder Including Anticoagulant Therapy
- Bronchial Adenoma
- Foreign Body Material in the Lung
- Fungus Infection of the Lung Such as Coccidiomycosis, Blastomycosis
- Goodpasture Syndrome
- Idiopathic Pulmonary Hemosiderosis
- Lung Abscess
- Mitral Stenosis
- Parasites Including Paragonimus westermani
- Rare Lung Tumors
- Trauma to the Lung
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Causes of Bloody Sputum
Bronchitis is inflammation of the airways in the lung. Acute bronchitis is short in duration (10-20 days) in comparison with chronic bronchitis, which lasts for months to years. Causes of acute bronchitis include viruses and bacteria, which means it can be contagious. Acute bronchitis caused by environmental factors such as pollution or cigarette smoke is not contagious. Common symptoms for acute bronchitis include nasal congestion, cough, headache, sore throat, muscle aches, and fatigue. Acute bronchitis in children also my include runny nose, fever, and chest pain. Treatment for acute bronchitis are OTC pain relievers, cough suppressants (although not recommended in children), and rest. Infrequently antibiotics may be prescribed to treat acute bronchitis.
Amyloidosis is a group of diseases resulting from abnormal deposition of certain proteins (amyloids) in various bodily areas. The amyloid proteins may either be deposited in one particular area of the body (localized amyloidosis) or they may be deposited throughout the body (systemic amyloidosis). There are three types of systemic amyloidosis: primary (AL), secondary (AA), and familial (ATTR). Primary amyloidosis is not associated with any other diseases and is considered a disease entity of its own. Secondary amyloidosis occurs as a result of another illness. Familial Mediterranean Fever is a form of familial (inherited) amyloidosis. Amyloidosis treatment involves treating the underlying illness and correcting organ failure.
Aspergillus Infection (Aspergillosis)
An Aspergillus infection is a fungal infection. Signs and symptoms can include cough, shortness of breath, wheezing, bloody sputum, difficulty breathing, and chest and/or joint pain. Treatment depends on the type and severity of the disease.
Treatment for bladder cancer depends on the stage of the disease, the grade of the tumor, and the type of bladder cancer. Options for treatment include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and biological therapy.
Chest pain is a common complaint by a patient in the ER. Causes of chest pain include broken or bruised ribs, pleurisy, pneumothorax, shingles, pneumonia, pulmonary embolism, angina, heart attack, costochondritis, pericarditis, aorta or aortic dissection, and reflux esophagitis. Diagnosis and treatment of chest pain depends upon the cause and clinical presentation of the patient's chest pain.
Chronic bronchitis is a cough that occurs daily with production of sputum that lasts for at least 3 months, 2 years in a row. Causes of chronic bronchitis include cigarette smoking, inhaled irritants, and underlying disease processes (such as asthma, or congestive heart failure). Symptoms include cough, shortness of breath, and wheezing. Treatments include bronchodilators and steroids. Complications of chronic bronchitis include COPD and emphysema.
Collapsed Lung (Pneumothorax)
A pneumothorax is air in the chest outside the lung that causes the lung to collapse (collapsed lung). There are two types of pneumothorax, spontaneous or primary pneumothorax and secondary pneumothorax. Symptoms include sudden chest pain, shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, rapid breathing, cough, and fatigue.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT, Blood Clot in the Legs)
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot in the deep veins, and can be caused by broken bones, trauma to a limb, immobility, medications, smoking, cancer, genetic predisposition, and cancer. Symptoms and signs of a deep vein thrombosis in a leg are swelling, tenderness, redness, warmth, and pain. Treatments for DVT include medications and surgery.
Granulomatosis With Polyangiitis
Granulomatosis with polyangiitis is a condition that usually affects young or middle-aged adults, is an inflammation of the arteries supplying blood to the sinuses, lungs, and kidneys. Symptoms of granulomatosis with polyangiitis include bloody sputum, fatigue, weight loss, joint pain, sinusitis, shortness of breath, and fever. Granulomatosis with polyangiitis may be fatal within months without treatment. Treatment aims to stop inflammation with high doses of prednisone and cyclophosphamide.
Histoplasmosis (Cave Disease)
Histoplasmosis (cave disease) is a disease caused by a fungus called Histoplasma capsulatum. The symptoms are similar to those of pneumonia and include chest pain, fever, and sweats. Antifungal medications are used in treatment.
Is Pneumonia Contagious?
Pneumonia is inflammation of the lung usually caused by bacterial or viral infection (rarely, also by fungi) that causes the air sacs to fill with pus. If inflammation affects both lungs, the infection is termed double pneumonia. If it affects one lung, it is termed single pneumonia. If it affects only a certain lobe of a lung it's termed lobar pneumonia. Most pneumonias are caused by bacteria and viruses, but some pneumonias are caused by inhaling toxic chemicals that damage lung tissue.
Is Tuberculosis (TB) Contagious?
Mycobacterium tuberculosis causes tuberculosis (TB). TB may be transmitted when an infected person sings, sneezes, coughs, or talks. TB symptoms and signs include coughing bloody sputum, night sweats, severe cough, fever, chills, fatigue, and weight loss.
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Pneumonia is inflammation of the lungs caused by fungi, bacteria, or viruses. Symptoms and signs include cough, fever, shortness of breath, and chills. Antibiotics treat pneumonia, and the choice of the antibiotic depends upon the cause of the infection.
Pulmonary Embolism (Blood Clot in the Lung)
A pulmonary embolism (PE) occurs when a piece of a blood clot from deep vein thrombosis (DVT) breaks off and travels to an artery in the lung where it blocks the artery and damages the lung. The most common symptoms of a pulmonary embolism are shortness of breath, chest pain, and a rapid heart rate. Causes of pulmonary embolism include prolonged immobilization, certain medications, smoking, cancer, pregnancy, and surgery. Pulmonary embolism can cause death if not treated promptly.
Schistosomiasis (snail fever), a disease caused by parasites, causes a variety of symptoms and signs, such as cough, rash and bloody diarrhea. Praziquantel is used in the treatment of schistosomiasis.
Small Cell Lung Cancer vs. Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
Non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC) consist of large cell carcinomas, adenocarcinomas, and squamous cell carcinomas. Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) usually starts in the bronchi and typically appears in those who smoke. SCLC and NSCLC are staged in different manners, and SCLC tends to metastasize more quickly than NSCLC. Signs and symptoms of NSCLC and SCLC include shortness of breath, coughing up blood, recurring lung infections, and chest pain. Treatment may involve radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and surgery.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis is the bacterium that causes tuberculosis (TB). Symptoms and signs of TB include bloody sputum, fever, cough, weight loss, and chest pain. Treatment depends upon the type of TB infection.
What Is Bronchiectasis?
Bronchiectasis has three types: cylindrical bronchiectasis, saccular or varicose bronchiectasis, and cystic bronchiectasis. Causes of bronchiectasis include infection, environmental exposure, drug or alcohol abuse, and alpha-1 antitrypsin (congenital). Symptoms of bronchiectasis include shortness of breath, fatigue, chronic cough, bloody sputum, and wheezing. Treatment for bronchiectasis includes antibiotics and possibly surgery.
What Should I Do After an Unwanted Pregnancy?
There are a variety of options that may help you handle your situation. It might help you to visualize each option and decide how you feel about it. Consider reaching out to trained professionals or close friends if you get overwhelmed.
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