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Zentralbl Chir. 2016 Feb;141(1):85-92. doi: 10.1055/s-0035-1545877. Epub 2015 Jul 2.

[Management of Hemoptysis: Results of an Algorithm-Based Interdisciplinary Treatment Scheme].

[Article in German]

Author information

Klinik für Chirurgie, UKSH Campus Lübeck, Deutschland.
Klinik für Thoraxchirurgie, Department Chirurgie, Universitätsklinikum Freiburg, Deutschland.



Hemoptysis is a worrying symptom for the majority of patients, is frequently a sign for a severe disease and can develop into a life-threatening situation. Various therapeutic methods and medical specialties can be involved in the management of these patients. Guidelines or evidence-based recommendations on this issue are not available. Based on our long-term experience and considering all established diagnostic and therapeutic means, we propose an algorithm to manage this condition.


This is a retrospective analysis of a cohort from a single thoracic surgical institution. Data regarding the used diagnostic and therapeutic methods with focus on outcome parameters are presented. Based on our experience and the published data we discuss the proposed algorithm.


Between 01.2009 and 12.2013, 204 patients were hospitalised and treated for hemoptysis. Malignancies were the most frequent (50 %) cause of hemoptysis, followed by infectious/inflammatory diseases (25 %), cardiovascular disorders (6 %), rare (12 %) and unclear (7 %) circumstances. In 71 cases the bleeding stopped spontaneously, in 124 (61 %) one invasive measure (interventional bronchoscopy 43, bronchial artery embolisation 34 or operation 12) or a combination of methods (35 combinations of two or all three methods) were necessary to stop the hemoptysis. Six patients died without intervention. The bronchial artery embolisation showed a 79 % success rate and a morbidity of 11 %. Lung resections were performed in 30 cases (morbidity 43 %, mortality 0 %). The mortality directly due to massive hemoptysis was 4.5 %.


Even small hemoptysis can be the warning signal for serious conditions and immediate diagnostic evaluation and therapy, preferentially in an inpatient setting, is often mandatory. A prompt diagnostic bronchoscopy is advocated. The therapeutic method of first choice is non-surgical for the most cases (interventional bronchoscopy, bronchial artery embolisation). Lung resections retain an important role in the management of hemoptysis and are the only available therapy for some diseases. It is advisable to delay surgery until the bleeding is controlled and the patient is stabilised. Best results for managing hemoptysis can be achieved with a multidisciplinary approach (interventional bronchoscopy, angiology and thoracic surgery) in a high expertise centre.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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