Massive hemoptysis is regarded as a potentially lethal condition that requires immediate attention, and prompt action. Although minor hemoptysis is frequently encountered by most clinicians, massive hemoptysis in far less frequent and most physicians are not prepared to manage this time-sensitive clinical presentation in a systematic and timely fashion. Critical initial steps in management need to be implemented in an expedited fashion, such that patients may have a chance at a more definitive treatment. In this article, we review the definition, vascular anatomy, etiology, diagnostic evaluation, epidemiology and prognostic markers of massive hemoptysis. A systematic approach to management, stabilization and treatment options is followed. An algorithm is proposed for the management of massive hemoptysis and the importance of a multidisciplinary approach is emphasized.
Keywords: Massive hemoptysis; life-threatening hemoptysis; systematic approach.