[Life-threatening hemoptysis: study of 154 patients]

Ramon Orriols, Víctor Núñez, Rosana Hernando, Estrella Drobnic, Margarita Moreiras
Medicina Clínica 2012 September 8, 139 (6): 255-60

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: The natural history of life-threatening hemoptysis (LTH), a medical emergency, is ill defined. The objective of the study was to evaluate, in a university teaching hospital setting, the etiology, methods used, and evolution of LTH.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Prospective study in which we enrolled 154 patients admitted for LTH over 3 consecutive years. Bronchoscopy and arteriography procedures were performed, as prescribed by the attending physician. Patient evolution was followed 5 years post-event.

RESULT: 79.2% were male. Average age was 57 (SD 15) years. Bronchiectasis and active tuberculosis and its consequences were the predominant etiologies. A total of 4.5% patients died as a result of LTH. Bronchoscopy was more effective in identifying the bleeding than arteriography when the examination was performed during an episode of hemoptysis (84.2 versus 20.4%) (P<.001). When embolization or bronchoscopy were used as first measure, embolization was more effective in stabilizing bleeding than bronchoscopy (87 versus 53.5%) (P<.001) in admitted patients. LTH relapse was 10.7%, while it was lower with embolization.

CONCLUSIONS: Leading causes were bronchiectasis and tuberculosis. While bronchoscopy during a hemoptysis episode was effective in identifying the source of the bleeding, artery embolization was more effective in stabilizing the patient both at the short and long term.

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