Cause, treatment and outcome of patients with life-threatening haemoptysis

A E Stebbings, T K Lim
Singapore Medical Journal 1999, 40 (2): 67-9

BACKGROUND: Massive haemoptysis is a life-threatening situation which requires immediate medical attention and intervention. We reviewed 23 patients with life-threatening haemoptysis to document the cause, describe the treatment of these patients and to determine which form of treatment had a better outcome.

DESIGN: Retrospective case study.

METHODS: Consecutive patients were reviewed and data collected for the underlying cause, treatment and outcome of patients with life-threatening haemoptysis.

RESULTS: Out of 23 patients, nine patients had active pulmonary tuberculosis and nine patients had post-tuberculous lung disease. Fifteen patients underwent bronchial embolisation, one patient had surgical resection and seven patients had received medical treatment. Five patients required intubation. Bronchial embolisation was significantly better than medical treatment at immediate cessation of haemoptysis (p < 0.05). Three (13%) patients died from haemoptysis. Follow-up duration averaged 16 months.

CONCLUSIONS: The most common causes of haemoptysis were pulmonary tuberculosis and post-tuberculous bronchiectasis. Urgent bronchial artery embolisation was better at immediate cessation of haemoptysis than medical treatment.

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