Haemoptysis is best described as “coughed up blood”. Often haemoptysis is not a disease itself but can signify a variety of underlying problems and should therefore be properly assessed by a doctor. Blood can manifest in many different forms, however often it is frothy and bright red.
The amount can be as minimal as blood stains in the spit (sputum) to more obvious larger amounts of blood or clots that would need a more immediate attention of a doctor. Amounts larger than 600ml are usually regarded as massive haemoptysis and do require emergency medical attention.
Haemoptysis should not be confused with haematemesis – which describes the vomiting of blood and, unlike haemoptysis, is often associated with nausea and vomiting as well as food particles that can be seen. The colour of the blood can range from bright red to dark, almost black dotted (“coffee ground” like) and should be best assessed by a physician as well.