[Massive haemoptysis: primary care, diagnosis and treatment]

D Enting, T S van der Werf, T R Prins, J G Zijlstra, J J M Ligtenberg, J E Tulleken
Nederlands Tijdschrift Voor Geneeskunde 2004 August 7, 148 (32): 1582-6
Massive haemoptysis is life-threatening because of asphyxiation from flooding of the central airways with blood. The first step in treatment includes airway protection, usually managed by intubation. Imaging may be inconclusive, and bronchoscopy--rigid or flexible--is essential to establish the site and cause of the bleeding. Bronchoscopy may be therapeutic in that a balloon catheter may be inserted in the bleeding airway in order to tamponade the source of bleeding. Embolisation of pathological bronchial arterial vessels is the treatment of choice in most cases; surgery is limited to causes that cannot be managed by the endovascular treatment modality, or to cases that fail to respond to embolisation.

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