Samir Gupta, MD, FRCPC, Division of Respirology, Department of Medicine, St. Michael’s Hospital, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.
Robert Hyland, MD, FRCPC, Division of Respirology, Department of Medicine, St. Michael’s Hospital, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.
Hemoptysis is an important clinical problem that is especially ominous when seen in older patients. The main causes of hemoptysis in first world nations are bronchogenic carcinoma, bronchitis, and bronchiectasis. In older patients cancer remains the main concern, especially if there is a smoking history. The diagnostic approach to nonmassive hemoptysis starts with a chest x-ray, followed by a CT scan and then fibre optic bronchoscopy, which is well tolerated by older adults. In massive hemoptysis, chest x-ray is usually followed immediately by fibre optic or rigid bronchoscopy. Older patients require closer monitoring due to poor cardiopulmonary reserve; management options include endoscopic interventions, bronchial artery embolization,
surgery, and radiation.
Key words: hemoptysis, etiology, management, older adults, bronchiectasis.