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Coughing Up Blood: Causes, Treatments, and More


Causes of Hemoptysis
There are many potential reasons for coughing up blood. Causes for coughing blood include:

  • Bronchitis (acute or chronic), the most common cause of coughing up blood.
  • Hemoptysis due to bronchitis is rarely life-threatening.
  • Bronchiectasis
  • Lung cancer or non-malignant lung tumors
  • Use of blood thinners (anticoagulation)
  • Pneumonia
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Congestive heart failure, especially due to mitral stenosis
  • Tuberculosis
  • Inflammatory or autoimmune conditions (lupus, Wegener’s granulomatosis,
  • microscopic polyangiitis, Churg-Strauss syndrome, and many others)
  • Pulmonary arteriovenous malformations (AVMs)
  • Crack cocaine
  • Trauma, such as a gunshot wound or motor vehicle accident

Hemoptysis can also come from bleeding outside the lungs and airways. Severe nosebleeds or vomiting of blood from the stomach can result in blood draining into the windpipe (trachea). The blood is then coughed up, appearing as hemoptysis.


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