15 Scopus citations


Hemoptysis, which is defined as expectoration of blood from the al-veoli or airways of the lower respiratory tract, is an alarming clinical symptom with an extensive differential diagnosis. CT has emerged as an important noninvasive tool in the evaluation of patients with hemoptysis, and the authors present a systematic but flexible approach to CT interpretation. The first step in this approach involves identifying findings of parenchymal and airway hemorrhage. The second step is aimed at determining the mechanism of hemop-tysis and whether a specific vascular supply can be implicated. Hemoptysis can have primary vascular and secondary vascular causes. Primary vascular mechanisms include chronic systemic vascular hypertrophy, focally damaged vessels, a dysplastic lung parenchyma with systemic arterial supply, arteriovenous malformations and fistulas, and bleeding at the capillary level. Evaluating vascular mechanisms of hemoptysis at CT also entails determining if a specific vascular source can be implicated. Although the bronchial arteries are responsible for most cases of hemoptysis, nonbronchial systemic arteries and the pulmonary arteries are important potential sources of hemoptysis that must be recognized. Secondary vascular mechanisms of hemoptysis include processes that directly destroy the lung parenchyma and processes that directly invade the airway. Understanding and employing this approach allow the diagnostic radiologist to interpret CT examinations accurately in patients with hemoptysis and provide information that is best suited to directing subsequent treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)742-761
Number of pages20
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2021


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