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 most often bright red, although it may be rust-colored. Sometimes the mucus contains only streaks of blood.
The outlook depends on what is causing the problem. Most people do well with treatment to treat the symptoms and the underlying disease. People with severe hemoptysis may die.
A number of conditions, diseases, and medical tests may make you cough up blood. These include:
Blood clot in the lung
Breathing food or other material into the lungs (pulmonary aspiration)
Test to see if the blood clots normally, such as PT or PTT
Brown CA, Raja AS. Hemoptysis. In: Marx JA, Hockberger RS, Walls RM, et al, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2014:chap 24.
Denis Hadjiliadis, MD, MHS, Associate Professor of Medicine, Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.