There are various causes that can result in the problem of hemoptysis or blood in sputum. Starting from heart issues to lung infections to trauma can be the possible causes for the occurrence of hemoptysis or blood in sputum. In developed countries bronchogenic carcinoma, bronchitis and bronchiectasis can prove to be a cause of hemoptysis or bloody sputum.


Patients suffering from AIDS can suffer from hemoptysis due to the occurrence of pneumonia. Sometimes doctors cannot diagnose the reason behind the disease. It is also called idiopathic hemoptysis.

Causes of Hemoptysis or What Can Cause Blood in Sputum?

Causes of Hemoptysis or What Can Cause Blood in Sputum?

Below mentioned are the detailed causes of hemoptysis or causes of blood in sputum:

  1. Tuberculosis & Other Mycobacterial Infections Can Cause Hemoptysis or Blood in Sputum

    Tuberculosis and mycobacterial infections may cause hemoptysis or bloody sputum. Mycobaterium is responsible for the occurrence of the tuberculosis disease. The infection could lead to the destruction of the pulmonary tissues as the cavities are formed inside the lungs.

    Hemoptysis can belong to different categories such as mild as well as moderate. They occur due to different issues such as weight loss along with cough and thick sputum. If the patient has suffered from mycobacterium infections in the past, it is important to contact the doctor. X-ray of the chest is essential to find the cavities if any.

  2. Bronchitis

    Bronchitis might lead to hemoptysis or blood in sputum. Bronchitis is an inflammatory problem that results in the swelling and pain in the bronchial passage. It can be acute or long term disease. Persistent coughing can destroy the mucosal lining and cause the disease. Sputum is accompanied by low grade fever. While sleeping the patient also experiences continuous wheezing. To find the mycobacterium, the doctors examine the sputum under the microscope. Generally antibiotics are administered to the patients.

  3. Bronchiectasis

    Bronchiectasis is considered as the chronic swelling of the bronchioles accompanied by infection and it can cause hemoptysis or blood in sputum. Due to dilation, the tissues located in the vicinity get damaged. Patients sometimes suffer from cough and sputum with white discharge. Fibrosis can also be the reason for the spreading of disease. Cystic fibrosis results in the occurrence of bronchiectasis.


  4. Lung Cancer Can Cause Hemoptysis or Blood in Sputum

    Cancer of the lung may reason to hemoptysis or bloody sputum. Smokers might get affected from the carcinoma of the bronchial tubes. Sudden weight loss that cannot be explained in detail could be possible symptom. It is one of the less important reasons that bronchiectasis but can play havoc with the body. Linings of the respiratory tracts get damaged causing long term problems.

    X-ray of chest plays an important role in examining the extent of the infection and microscope is used to determine the existence of the cancerous tissues. The exact positioning of the tumor can be discovered by X-ray. In some cases it is necessary to initiate biopsy.


    Nearly 7 percent of the people diagnosed with hemoptysis or bloody sputum suffer from bronchogenic cancer. If the person is facing the issue of cancer he or she might get affected by hemoptysis or bloody sputum disease. Bleeding can occur due to the tumor or the destruction of the blood vessels. Sometimes if the cancer spreads to the area of the blood vessels, it might also cause bleeding. A small portion of the patients affected by bronchogenic cancer also witness the occurrence of hemoptysis or bloody sputum.

    Metastatic cancer can spread to lungs and kidneys resulting in bleeding. The effect is the same as bronchogenic carcinoma.

  5. Pneumonia

    Pneumonia is one of the most common diseases that might occur due to the inhalation of varieties of microorganisms in the blood stream and it can cause hemoptysis or blood in sputum. If the immune system is not strong, it would permit the deposition of the harmful bacteria into the lungs resulting in their growth. Over a period of time, pus may form in the respiratory tract and the patient would experience cough, pain in the chest or even acute fever.

  6. Hemoptysis or Blood in Sputum Caused Due to Pulmonary Infarction or Embolism

    If the pulmonary artery suddenly closes due to the formation of the blood clot, the situation is termed as pulmonary embolism and this disease may lead to hemoptysis or blood in sputum. Infarction can occur due to the destruction of the lung tissues as a result of deficiency of oxygen. The disease can be fatal for the people as it causes heart attack if left untreated. Chest pain is one of the most common symptoms of infarction. Tachycardia along with dyspnea is one of the most possible symptoms. Chest X-ray might not reveal anything but there are many features that are different.

  7. Heart Problems

    Mitral stenosis can cause the occurrence of the mild hemoptysis or blood in sputum accompanied by sputum which is frothy in appearance. Some of the associated symptoms include left ventricular failure. It may also cause apnea during night. In addition people may face the problem of breathlessness while sleeping on the bed. In addition, one would not get sound sleep at night and may wake up suddenly. Stamina reduces because the patients would gasp for breath while doing intensive weight training.

  8. Coagulopathy

    Coagulopathy can be the reason for hemoptysis or blood in sputum because it can inhibit the capability to clot the blood. Clots get generated after the disease occurs in the mild form causing lots of problems in the long run. Mucosal linings of the respiratory tract get affected after a period of time. Some of the symptoms include epistaxis and bruises that occur due to the rupturing of the blood vessels.

  9. Anticoagulants Can Cause Hemoptysis or Blood in Sputum

    Anticoagulants play an important role in the removal of the blood clots. Thromboembolic disorders are treated with the help of the medications. Due to persistent usage of medicines people get affected by hemoptysis or blood in sputum.

  10. Drug Use

    Different types of medicine such as aspirin and cocaine can cause hemoptysis or bloody sputum in long term.

  11. Pulmonary Endometriosis as a Cause of Hemoptysis or Blood in Sputum

    A type of menstrual related hemoptysis is catamenial hemoptysis or bloody sputum which is known by other name "pulmonary endometriosis". It is associated with the cells that grow externally outside the uterus and cause long term problems to the users. Clinical researchers are not aware as to how the problem is caused. They are generally destroyed once the cycle is over. The cells are eliminated after the exit of menstrual cycle in an impeccable manner.

    Defective cell tissues originate in brain as well as liver. They also occur in the reproductive tract. Problem affecting the lungs is termed as catamenial hemoptysis and it can be resolved using hormones.

    Majority of hemoptysis or bloody sputum cannot be diagnosed with bronchoscopy. The disease belongs to milder category and may result in the inflammation of bronchial lines.

  12. Aspergillosis

    Aspergillosis affecting the lung is also the reason for occurrence of the hemoptysis or blood in sputum. It is generally found in people with poor immunity. Fungus can spread through the blood vessels resulting in widespread destruction within the body. X-ray is done to diagnose the problem and surgery is the treatment to eliminate lesions.

  13. Lung Abscess Causes Hemoptysis or Blood in Sputum

    A lung abscess is an accumulation of pus (a fluid product of inflammation and infection) in the lungs that can cause hemoptysis or bloody sputum.

  14. Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM)

    AVM affects the children as it is manifested in the form of abnormal arteries long with veins. It can create problems for the lungs resulting in infection leading to hemoptysis or blood in sputum.

  15. Idiopathic Pulmonary Hemosiderosis Causes Hemoptysis or Blood in Sputum

    Idiopathic pulmonary hemosiderosis is caused due to the accumulation of hemosiderin which comprises of iron. The disease belongs to the autoimmune category wherein the body attacks the healthy cell tissues. People can get affected by hemoptysis or bloody sputum along with dyspnea.

  16. Goodpasture's Syndrome

    Goodpasture's syndrome can cause hemoptysis or blood in sputum as it results due to the deposition of iron in the respiratory system. Generally the syndrome affects the kidneys resulting in its failure.

  17. Trauma

    Injury to chest due to vehicle accident can result in hemoptysis or blood in sputum.

  18. Wegener's Granulomatosis

    It is also an autoimmune syndrome as the healthy tissues get damaged but wegener's granulomatosis occurrence and leading to hemoptysis or blood in sputum is quite rare.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:


Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: November 16, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer


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