Hemoptysis: prospective high-resolution CT/bronchoscopic correlation

Chest. 1994 Apr;105(4):1155-62. doi: 10.1378/chest.105.4.1155.


The precise roles of fiberoptic bronchoscopy (FOB) and computed tomography (CT) of the chest in the evaluation of patients presenting with hemoptysis have not been clearly defined. On the assumption that both procedures would likely provide unique and complementary information, a prospective study with blinded interpreters using a modified high-resolution CT technique (HRCT) and FOB was designed to evaluate 57 consecutive patients admitted to Bellevue Hospital with hemoptysis. Etiologies included bronchiectasis (25 percent), tuberculosis (16 percent), lung cancer (12 percent), aspergilloma (12 percent), and bronchitis (5 percent): in an additional 5 percent of cases, hemoptysis proved to be due miscellaneous causes, while in 19 percent hemoptysis proved to be cryptogenic. Patients with lung cancer all were at least 50 years old, smoked an average of 78 pack-years, and had less severe hemoptysis but of longer duration. All had conditions diagnosed both by HRCT and FOB. High-resolution CT proved of particular value in diagnosing bronchiectasis and aspergillomas, while FOB was diagnostic of bronchitis and mucosal lesions such as Kaposi's sarcoma. Fiberoptic bronchoscopy localized bleeding in only 51 percent of cases. The high sensitivity of CT in identifying both the intraluminal and extraluminal extent of central lung cancers in conjunction with its value in diagnosing bronchiectasis suggest that CT should be obtained prior to bronchoscopy in all patients presenting with hemoptysis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bronchial Diseases / complications
  • Bronchial Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Bronchial Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Bronchoscopy*
  • Female
  • Hemoptysis / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases / complications
  • Lung Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Lung Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*