A prospective analysis of 184 hemoptysis cases: diagnostic impact of chest X-ray, computed tomography, bronchoscopy

Maria Tsoumakidou, Georgios Chrysofakis, Ioanna Tsiligianni, Georgios Maltezakis, Nikolaos M Siafakas, Nikolaos Tzanakis
Respiration; International Review of Thoracic Diseases 2006, 73 (6): 808-14

BACKGROUND: The clinical presentation of hemoptysis often raises a number of diagnostic possibilities.

OBJECTIVES: This study was designed to evaluate the relative frequency of different causes of hemoptysis and the value of chest radiography, computed tomography (CT) scanning and fiber-optic bronchoscopy in the evaluation of a Greek cohort population.

METHODS: We prospectively followed a total of 184 consecutive patients (137 males/47 females, 145 smokers/39 nonsmokers) admitted with hemoptysis between January 2001 and December 2003 to the University Hospital of Heraklion. Follow-up data were collected on August 2005.

RESULTS: The main causes of hemoptysis were bronchiectasis (26%), chronic bronchitis (23%), acute bronchitis (15%) and lung cancer (13%). Bronchiectasis was significantly more frequent in nonsmokers (p < 0.02). Among nonsmokers, patients with moderate/severe bleeding or a history of tuberculosis were more likely to have bronchiectasis (OR 8.25; 95% CI 1.9-35.9, p = 0.007 and OR 16.5; 95% CI 1.7-159.1, p = 0.007, respectively). Nonsmokers with normal or abnormal X-rays were equally likely to have bronchiectasis (OR 2.5; 95% CI 0.66-9.39, p = 0.2). Lung cancer was only found in smokers. Smokers with normal X-rays were less likely to have lung cancer compared to smokers with abnormal X-ray (OR 5.4; 95% CI 1.54-19.34, p = 0.004). There were no smokers with normal CT and lung cancer. Follow-up data were collected in 91% of patients. Lung cancer did not develop in any patient assumed to have hemoptysis of another origin than lung cancer on initial evaluation.

CONCLUSIONS: Bronchiectasis is the main diagnosis in patients admitted with hemoptysis to a Greek University Hospital and it is more frequent among nonsmokers with moderate/severe bleeding and/or previous tuberculosis infection. Nonsmokers with moderate/severe hemoptysis and/or a history of tuberculosis should be evaluated with high-resolution CT. Smokers with hemoptysis are at increased risk for lung cancer and need to be extensively evaluated with chest CT and bronchoscopy.

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