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Chest. 1996 Mar;109(3):727-9.

Significance of hemoptysis following thrombolytic therapy for acute myocardial infarction.

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Department of Radiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.



To describe the occurrence, cause, and significance of hemoptysis following thrombolytic therapy for acute myocardial infarction.


We retrospectively reviewed 2,634 patients presenting with acute myocardial infarction who received thrombolytic therapy to determine the incidence of hemoptysis. Chart and radiographic review included the type, dose, and route of thrombolytic therapy. In addition, the onset, duration, and severity of hemoptysis were recorded and correlated with radiographic and bronchoscopic findings.


Eleven patients (0.4%) developed hemoptysis following administration of thrombolytic therapy for an acute myocardial infarction. The duration and severity had a wide range, although no patient had significant hemodynamic compromise. The source of hemoptysis was identified in only one patient who had a tongue laceration following cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and blood was seen within the oropharynx and trachea. No definitive cause was identified in all other patients. There was no correlation between the different types or doses of thrombolytic therapy and the duration or severity of hemoptysis. Chest radiographs were nonspecific and demonstrated resolution within 11 days following hemoptysis. CT of the thorax in one patient and bronchoscopy in two patients confirmed chest radiographic findings and in no patient was an underlying pulmonary abnormality identified.


Pulmonary hemorrhage and hemoptysis are unusual complications of thrombolytic therapy in patients with acute myocardial infarction. Although hemoptysis may be the first indicator of an underlying pulmonary abnormality, we found no case in which a significant abnormality was unmasked. This study suggests that follow-up chest radiographs are recommended and further evaluation may be unnecessary if complete resolution is demonstrated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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