We reviewed the clinical outcome of 67 patients with hemoptysis and a normal or nonlocalizing chest roentgenogram and nondiagnostic fiberoptic bronchoscopic examination. During a 38 +/- 22 (SD) month period after bronchoscopy, 57 (85%) patients remained well without evidence of active tuberculosis or overlooked bronchogenic carcinoma, and 9 patients died of nonpulmonary conditions. One patient developed bronchogenic carcinoma 20 months after bronchoscopy and resolution of symptoms. Hemoptysis had resolved completely before hospital discharge in 38 (57%) patients, within 6 months in 60 (90%), and recurred in only 3. Five patients (7.5%) had intermittent episodes of bleeding for more than 1 year. Fiberoptic bronchoscopy effectively excludes specific underlying causes of hemoptysis in the setting of a normal chest roentgenogram. The prognosis for patients with cryptogenic hemoptysis is generally good, usually with resolution of bleeding within 6 months of evaluation.