Coughing up blood is the spitting up of blood or bloody mucus from the lungs and throat (respiratory tract).
Hemoptysis is the medical term for coughing up blood from the respiratory tract.
Hemoptysis; Spitting up blood; Bloody sputum
Coughing up blood is not the same as bleeding from the mouth, throat, or gastrointestinal tract.
Blood that comes up with a cough often looks bubbly because it is mixed with air and mucus. It is usually bright red, although it may be rust-colored. Sometimes the mucus may only contain streaks of blood.
A number of conditions, diseases, and medical tests may make you cough up blood, including:
Cough suppressants may help if this condition is due to throat irritation from violent coughing. However, cough suppressants may lead to airway blockages in some cases. Always check with your doctor before using them.
It is very important to note how long you cough up blood, and how much blood is mixed with the mucus. Contact your doctor any time you cough up blood, even if you do not have any other symptoms.
Get medical help right away if you cough up blood and have:
In an emergency case, your doctor will give you treatments to control your condition. The doctor will then ask you questions about your cough, such as:
The doctor will do a complete physical exam and check your chest and lungs. Tests that may be done include:
Brown CA III. Hemoptysis. In: Marx JA, ed. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2009:chap 31.