Haemoptysis (Coughing up of Blood)
Haemoptysis is the coughing up of blood originating from the respiratory tract. This is a symptom that can occur in someone who has lung cancer, and can be very distressing to patients and carers. Up to one third of patients with lung cancer develop haemoptysis.
It is important to establish that the blood or blood stained material has come from the chest and not the Nose, upper respiratory tract, or Gastro Intestinal tract.
Usually caused by the cancer invading a blood vessel in the lungs, causing it to bleed, and other causes are infection, clot on the lung, or blood clotting disorders.
Coughing of blood can be transient or persistent and rarely causes a major problem.
· Ensure your doctor is aware and assessed the cause and severity of the bleeding.
· Sometimes a drug can be used to cause the blood to clot quicker such as Tranexamic acid.
· Radiotherapy or laser therapy to the chest area can be very effective in sealing the bleeding blood vessel
• Very occasionally patients can have massive bleeding; in this case management should be regarded as an emergency whether or not resuscitation is appropriate. Your doctor will then advise on the care required.
Fallon, M. Hanks, G (2006) ABC of palliative Care, Second Edition. Blackwell, Oxford
Watson et al. (2009) Oxford Handbook of Palliative Care Second Edition. Oxford University Press, Oxford