Video anchor 19.OCT.2018 2 MIN READ | 2 MIN READ

Coughing Blood and What It Could Mean

Coughing blood and vomiting blood: Are they the same?

Blood that is coughed up may be streaky, frothy or pure, while blood that is vomited can be in the form of blood or sputum with food particles, or dark blood that looks like coffee grinds.

In both cases, it could indicate a stomach or digestive disease, so if you are coughing or vomiting blood, see a doctor for immediate medical diagnosis and treatment.

What does it mean if you cough blood-stained mucus?

Coughing blood-stained mucus (haemoptysis) can be a sign of a serious medical condition. Possible causes include:

  • Bronchiectasis
  • Lung cancer or non-malignant lung tumours
  • Pneumonia
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Tuberculosis
  • Inflammatory or autoimmune conditions

When is coughing blood an emergency?

A cough that produces pink and frothy sputum is a warning sign to go to the Accident & Emergency immediately as it indicates fluid overload in your lungs and is potentially fatal.

Seek immediate medical attention at the hospital if you experience any of the additional symptoms:

  • Blood in mucus for more than a week, or bleeding that gets worse
  • Chest pain
  • Weight loss
  • Night sweats
  • A body temperature of 38°C or higher
  • Shortness of breath during normal activity


Infographic reviewed by
Dr Kenneth Chan, respiratory physician at Gleneagles Hospital
Dr Quah Hak Mien, general surgeon at Gleneagles Hospital

Infographic brought to you by Health Plus


Coughing Up Blood (Hemoptysis). N.D. Retrieved 31 August 2018 from

Coughing up blood (blood in phlegm). N.D. Retrieved 31 August 2018 from

Coughing up blood. N.D. Retrieved 31 August from

Coughing up blood: when should you be concerned. 13 January 2017. Retrieved on 3 September 2018 from