Etiology and treatment outcomes of massive hemoptysis

Wipa Reechaipichitkul, Sirikan Latong
Southeast Asian Journal of Tropical Medicine and Public Health 2005, 36 (2): 474-80
Massive hemoptysis is a life-threatening condition and can lead to asphyxiation. This is a retrospective review of 101 patients hospitalized with massive hemoptysis at Srinagarind Hospital, Khon Kaen, Thailand, between January 1993 and December 2002. The male to female ratio was 2.1:1. The average age was 47.1 (SD 16.8) years. Half the subjects were farmers and three-fourths had an underlying disease; most notably old pulmonary tuberculosis (41.6%). The mean duration of massive hemoptysis was 3.2 (SD 3.7) days. An initial hematocrit < or = 30% was found in 34.6% of patients, and a prolonged prothrombin time in 4.0%, and thrombocytopenia in 2.0%. Chest radiographs revealed unilateral, bilateral lesions and normal lungs in 57.4, 40.6, and 2.0%, respectively. A chest CT was done in 14.8% of patients. Bronchoscopy localized the bleeding and diagnosed the etiology in 19.8%. The most common causes of massive hemoptysis were bronchiectasis (33.7%), active pulmonary tuberculosis (20.8%) and malignancy (10.9%). Patients were grouped by treatment: 1) conservative (88); 2) emergency bronchial artery embolization (7); and, 3) emergency surgery (6). Of the 88 patients in group 1, the bleeding was stopped in 71 (80.7%) and recurred in 4. Of the 7 patients undergoing emergency bronchial artery embolization, the bleeding was stopped in 6 (86%) and recurred in 1. In the 6 patients who underwent emergency surgery, the bleeding was stopped in all and recurred in 1. Recurrent hemoptysis usually arose within 7 days of the first episode and was well controlled with bronchial arterial embolization. The mortality rate was 17.8%. Of the discharged patients, 36.1% had recurrent hemoptysis. Most of them occurred within one month after discharge. We conclude that, the most common cause of massive hemoptysis is benign rahter than malignant disease. Intensive care with conservative treatment should be applied vigorously. Bronchial artery embolization is an excellent, non-surgical alternative to control bleeding, and should be done before specific surgical intervention.

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