When to Use The ER? Coughing or Vomiting Blood

When to Use The ER? Coughing or Vomiting Blood

Coughing or vomiting blood is a serious indication of an underlying medical condition, which could be fatal. For this reason, it is advisable to call for an ambulance or visit the ER after coughing or vomiting blood. However, it is also essential to know some of the medical conditions that may cause vomiting or cough blood. If you notice any of the signs below, contact Bellaire ER immediately for emergency medical care.

What does Blood in Vomit Look like?

Vomiting blood is a medical condition known as haematemesis and may occur due to internal bleeding from the gut. The following colors of blood show different meanings:
• Dark Blood: The color looks like ground coffee and means that the bleeding is relatively slow
• Bright Red Blood: Suggests that bleeding is rapid and large

What causes vomiting Blood?

Vomiting blood may occur due to bleeding from one of the following organs in your gut.
1. Bleeding from the Oesophagus which can occur due to one of the following conditions:
Oesophageal varices: These are enlarged swollen blood vessels in the gut or stomach, that are often a complication of liver cirrhosis.
Inflammation of the oesophagus (oesophagitis)
Oesophageal cancer
Mallory Weiss Syndrome

2. Bleeding from the Stomach could occur due to:
Stomach ulcer
Infection with a bacteria called Helicobacter pylori
Anti-inflammatory medicine
Stomach cancer
Mallory-Weiss Syndrome

3. Bleeding from the Duodenum:
Duodenal Ulcer
Duodenitis: Inflammation of the duodenal lining

4. Bleeding that is not from the gut
Sometimes, it is possible to swallow blood after a nosebleed, and then vomit it. In this case, the doctor will assess before ordering treatment.

5. Rare causes form any part of the Upper Gut
Radiation Poisoning
Uncommon infections of the gut

What Tests Should You Expect?

Doctor assessment: The doctor will try and assess the source and cause of the blood in your vomit
Blood tests: To find out how much blood you have lost and if you need intravenous fluids. The tests are also used to determine the functionality of your liver.
Gastroscopy: An internal examination of the gut.

What is the Treatment for Vomiting Blood?

Initial Treatment: If bleeding is severe, blood transfusion or a drip into the vein may be required to compensate for lost blood.
Instruments that can be passed down the endoscope
Emergency surgery and other treatments

Symptoms That Accompany Vomiting Blood

Dizziness or fainting
Confusion and forgetfulness
Skin that looks clammy and pale
Rapid heart rate and anxiety or agitation
Enlarged Pupils
Blurred vision
Rapid Shallow Breathing
Reduced urine production

Coughing Blood

Coughing up blood is a medical condition also known as hemoptysis. The blood may be bright red or may occur in phlegm

What are some of the causes?

Lung Cancer
Benign tumors
Blood Thinners
Pulmonary Embolism
Pulmonary Edema
Congestive heart failure
Inflammatory or autoimmune conditions (lupus, Wegener’s granulomatosis, microscopic polyangiitis, and many others)
Trauma (e.g., from a gunshot wound)
Pulmonary arteriovenous malformations
Taking anticoagulants such as warfarin, rivaroxaban, dabigatran
Excessive smoking
Heavy coughing
High Altitudes

What Tests Should You Expect?

History and Physical Examination: The doctor will try and find the source of blood and also identify if it is coming from the lungs and the trachea.
Chest X-ray: To show areas where bleeding could be occurring before treatment is administered.
CT Scan: provide a better image of the chest for more analysis
Bronchoscopy: The doctor inserts an endoscope through the nose or mouth into the windpipe to find the source of bleeding
Coagulation tests: To find out if blood clotting is functioning normally
Arterial Blood gas: To find the oxygen level in the blood
Blood Chemistry Profile: A test to measure the electrolytes and kidney function
Pulse oximetry

What Are Some of the Treatments That May Be Administered?

Bronchial Artery Embolization: the bleeding artery is blocked, and other arteries compensate for it.
Surgery: This is required in severe conditions where a lung needs to be removed.
Antibiotics for pneumonia and tuberculosis
Chemotherapy/radiation for lung cancer
Steroids for inflammatory conditions

What Should You Do If You Cough Up or Vomit Blood?

Once you start coughing or vomiting blood that is not generated from trauma such as a punch, visit the nearest emergency room for consultation and treatment. If you are not in a position to go to a hospital, ask for an ambulance. Once you get to the doctor, be honest to ensure that you get the right treatment for your condition.

Do not ignore, or try self-medication and self-diagnosis. Seeking professional medical attention is crucial towards saving your life.


Bellaire ER offers emergency medical services for coughing or vomiting blood. With state-of-the-art technology and professional staff, you are assured of receiving quality emergency medical care when you arrive. We ensure that a thorough analysis of your existing medical condition is carried out before administering treatment. For more information, kindly contact us through our website.