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Clinical Investigations: LUNG CANCER |

Long-term Outcome and Lung Cancer Incidence in Patients With Hemoptysis of Unknown Origin*

Felix Herth, MD; Armin Ernst, MD, FCCP; Heinrich D. Becker, MD, FCCP
Author and Funding Information

*From the Department of Endoscopy (Drs. Herth and Becker), Thoraxklinik, Heidelberg, Germany; and Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine (Dr. Ernst), Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.

Correspondence to: Armin Ernst, MD, FCCP, Director, Interventional Pulmonology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, West Campus, One Deaconess Rd, Boston, MA 02115 e-mail: aernst@caregroup.harvard.edu



Chest. 2001;120(5):1592-1594. doi:10.1378/chest.120.5.1592
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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.

Design: A retrospective chart review followed by a telephone interview for follow-up.

Setting: A university-affiliated tertiary referral center for pulmonary diseases.

Patients: 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.

Conclusions: 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 risk.


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