What is coughing up blood?

Coughing up blood (also called hemoptysis) refers to coughing or spitting up of blood or bloody mucus from your respiratory tract (lungs and throat). It's a common condition that can have many causes. Some of these conditions can be very serious.

Coughing up blood isn't the same as vomiting blood. Blood that's coughed up often looks bubbly and is mixed with mucus. It can be red or rust colored and is usually in small amounts. Vomiting blood refers to large quantities of blood being expelled from your mouth.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/09/2018.


  • Merck Manual. Coughing Up Blood. Accessed 2/13/2018
  • Prutsky G, Domecq JP, Salazar CA, Accinelli R. Antifibrinolytic therapy to reduce haemoptysis from any cause. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016;11:CD008711.
  • Brown CA III. Hemoptysis. In: Marx JA, ed. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2009:chap 31.

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