Chest Imaging - Review

Diagnosis and management of hemoptysis


  • Anna Rita Larici,
  • Paola Franchi,
  • Mariaelena Occhipinti,
  • Andrea Contegiacomo,
  • Annemilia del Ciello,
  • Lucio Calandriello,
  • Maria Luigia Storto,
  • Riccardo Marano,
  • Lorenzo Bonomo

Received Date: 23.01.2014 Accepted Date: 24.12.2014 Diagn Interv Radiol 2014;20(4):299-309

Hemoptysis is the expectoration of blood that originates from the lower respiratory tract. It is usually a self-limiting event but in fewer than 5% of cases it may be massive, representing a life-threatening condition that warrants urgent investigations and treatment. This article aims to provide a comprehensive literature review on hemoptysis, analyzing its causes and pathophysiologic mechanisms, and providing details about anatomy and imaging of systemic bronchial and nonbronchial arteries responsible for hemoptysis. Strengths and limits of chest radiography, bronchoscopy, multidetector computed tomography (MDCT), MDCT angiography and digital subtraction angiography to assess the cause and lead the treatment of hemoptysis were reported, with particular emphasis on MDCT angiography. Treatment options for recurrent or massive hemoptysis were summarized, highlighting the predominant role of bronchial artery embolization. Finally, a guide was proposed for managing massive and nonmassive hemoptysis, according to the most recent medical literature.