Study objective: To provide current data on the
long-term outcome and incidence of lung cancer in a large cohort of
patients with hemoptysis of unknown origin.
retrospective chart review followed by a telephone interview for
Setting: A university-affiliated tertiary
referral center for pulmonary diseases.
Seven hundred twenty-two patients who presented with hemoptysis from
January 1990 to December 1993. One hundred thirty-five patients were
identified as having hemoptysis of unknown origin.
Results: One hundred thirty-five patients (19%) had
hemoptysis of unknown origin; follow-up data were obtained in 115
patients, of whom 100 were still alive. The mean time of observation
was 6.6 years after initial presentation. Lung cancer developed in 7 of
115 patients (6%) and was unresectable once detected; all of these
patients were smokers > 40 years old, and malignancy developed within
3 years after first presentation.
Hemoptysis of unknown origin is present in a minority of patients
presenting with hemoptysis if evaluated at a referral center for
pulmonary diseases. Lung cancer seems to be increasing in these
patients compared to previous studies, and closer follow-up or
additional testing may be indicated in the defined population at