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Dan Med J. 2015 Aug;62(8):A5123.

Bronchoscopy in patients with haemoptysis and normal computed tomography of the chest is unlikely to result in significant findings.

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Lungemedicinsk Afdeling, Aarhus Universitetshospital, Nørrebrogade 44, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark.



The standard evaluation of haemoptysis in a department of respiratory medicine would currently consist of chest radiography, contrast-enhanced computed tomography (CT) and fibre-optic bronchoscopy (FOB), regardless of the result of the CT. Our aim was to evaluate whether patients presenting with haemoptysis but no positive finding on a contrast-enhanced CT of the chest are at risk for having serious disease, first of all lung cancer, and thus whether FOB is mandatory for such patients.


We searched the literature and retrospectively reviewed all records of patients referred with haemoptysis between 2000 and 2010 at the Department of Respiratory Diseases and Allergy, Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark.


A total of 379 patient records were reviewed for inclusion in the clinical part of the study. Of these, 269 had the information required for the study and had been examined with CT. In all, 16 of the 269 patients were diagnosed with lung cancer. In all of these, a tumour or other findings indicating a possible tumour were seen on the chest CT. No additional cases of lung cancer were discovered during FOB, and no cases had been missed by the CT.


CT should be used as first-line examination in patients with a history of haemoptysis. Furthermore, in patients above 40 years of age with positive findings of any kind on the CT, further examination with FOB is indicated. However, if the chest CT is without pathological findings, it is most unlikely that FOB will reveal anything of significance.




not relevant.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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