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Evidenced-based management of haemoptysis by otolaryngologists

  • M Bannister (a1) and K W Ah-See (a1)



Haemoptysis is an uncommon presenting symptom to the ENT clinic and ward, but has potentially sinister aetiology. This article aims to provide a systematic and evidence-based method of managing patients with haemoptysis.


The data in this article are based on a literature search performed using PubMed in August 2013. The keywords used included ‘haemoptysis’ in combination with ‘otolaryngology’, ‘ENT’, ‘head & neck', ‘diagnosis’, ‘management’, ‘investigations’ and ‘treatment’.


The majority of published literature on the subject is level IV evidence. However, this can guide ENT specialists in assessing, investigating and managing presentations of haemoptysis.


Understanding the different causes of haemoptysis is important for the otolaryngologist. The main concern is the detection of a malignant lesion in the upper aerodigestive tract or tracheobronchial tree. A thorough history and systematic examination can aid diagnosis.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Mr Miles Bannister, Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Forresterhill, Aberdeen AB25 2ZN, Scotland, UK E-mail:


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