Coughing blood: what can it be?

Expert answer:

Coughing up blood with expectoration (phlegm), a condition called hemoptysisindicates that there are bleeding in the lungs or airways, which may be a sign of several diseases. Some of them:

  • Pulmonary infections, such as bronchitis, fungal infections;
  • Lung cancer;
  • Tuberculosis;
  • Pulmonary infarction (death of an area of ​​the lung tissue, caused by obstruction of any artery);
  • Blood clotting problems;
  • Bronchiectasis (exacerbated dilations of the pulmonary bronchi);
  • Venocapillar hypertension (elevation of blood pressure in the pulmonary veins, which may lead to rupture of small vessels);
  • Insufficiency of the left ventricle of the heart;
  • Narrowing of the mitral valve of the heart.

In most cases where the patient coughs blood, bleeding is small and spontaneously. However, as the blood accumulates in the bronchi and exits all at once with the cough, it gives the idea that the bleeding is bulky, which scares the patient.

It is important to remember that Coughing up blood may be the first sign of lung cancer. Therefore, even if the bleeding stops alone, its origin must be investigated so as not to delay the diagnosis and make treatment difficult.

The patient should inform the doctor frequency and amount of blood expelled, if by coughing blood comes alone or mixed with phlegm, presence of other symptoms such as fever, chest pain and shortness of breath, besides the presence of other diseases or family history.

A cough with blood should be investigated and treated by the pulmonologist, general practitioner, or family doctor.

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