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Assessment and Management of a 72-Year-Old Male with Persistent Cough and Hemoptysis

Assessment and Management of a 72-Year-Old Male with Persistent Cough and Hemoptysis


A 72-year-old man with COPD and a long smoking history arrive at the clinic with a persistent productive cough and hemoptysis. This scenario necessitates a thorough investigation to establish the underlying reason and the best course of action. The following discussion will cover further subjective and objective information that is required, probable differential diagnoses, required radiographic and diagnostic exams, therapeutic choices, potential consequences, more laboratory testing, and the consideration for a consult.

1) Additional Subjective Data

To obtain more subjective data:
Ask the patient about the cough’s length, frequency, and intensity.
Inquire about any other symptoms that may be present, such as chest pain, shortness of breath, weight loss, or fever.
Examine how the cough affects the patient’s everyday activities, sleep, and quality of life.
Check for any recent drug changes, environmental exposures, or respiratory infections.
Please inquire about the patient’s smoking history, including the length and amount of time he or she has smoked and any past attempts to quit.

2) Additional Objective Discoveries

Focus on the patient’s respiratory system throughout the physical examination. Examine the lungs for abnormal breath sounds, such as wheezing or crackles. Assess the patient’s respiratory function by measuring oxygen saturation levels. Examine for symptoms of respiratory distress, such as increased labour of breathing, the use of accessory muscles, or cyanosis. Examine the chest for discomfort or localized pain.

3) Distinctive Diagnosis

The following differential diagnoses should be investigated based on the patient’s history and current symptoms:
– Acute COPD exacerbation: Given the patient’s history of COPD, an exacerbation should be investigated as a potential cause of the persistent cough.
– Chronic bronchitis: The patient’s persistent cough and smoking history are consistent with chronic bronchitis, a subtype of COPD.
– Lung cancer: The presence of hemoptysis and the patient’s smoking history raises the possibility of lung cancer.
Infections like pneumonia or bronchitis can induce a chronic cough and copious sputum.

4) Radiological Exams and Diagnostic Tests

Order the following diagnostic studies to analyze the patient further:
– Chest X-ray: This will aid in assessing the lung parenchyma, ruling out any masses or infiltrates, and determining the severity of COPD.
– Pulmonary function tests (PFTs) will objectively assess lung function, such as FEV1 and FVC. These tests will help determine the severity and course of COPD.
– Sputum culture and sensitivity testing: Collecting a sputum sample for culture and sensitivity testing helps identify probable microorganisms causing the infection and, if necessary, guides antibiotic therapy.

5) Treatment and Prescription Data

This patient’s treatment may include the following:
– Bronchodilators: Short-acting and long-acting bronchodilators enhance airflow and relieve COPD symptoms.
– Inhaled corticosteroids: In patients with moderate to severe COPD, consider adding inhaled corticosteroids to minimize airway inflammation.
– Smoking cessation assistance: Emphasize the significance of continuing to quit smoking and provide relevant resources and referrals.
– Symptomatic alleviation: Provide cough suppressants and analgesics to relieve coughing pain.

6) Possible Complications

Adverse drug reactions, such as bronchodilator-related tremors or corticosteroid-induced systemic effects, are examples of potential therapeutic problems. Furthermore, COPD exacerbations, respiratory infections, or

Despite medication adherence, illness progression can occur.

7) Additional Laboratory Examinations

Consider having the following laboratory tests performed:
– Complete blood count (CBC): Look for leukocytosis, an infection, and anaemia, which could be due to chronic illness or hemoptysis.
– C-reactive protein (CRP) and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR): These inflammatory indicators can aid in determining the severity of an acute exacerbation or the existence of an underlying infection.
– Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency screening: If it has not already been done, this test can assist in detecting if the patient has a genetic susceptibility to COPD.

8) Discussion

Consider consulting with a pulmonologist for additional evaluation and Management of the patient’s COPD, especially if more aggressive therapy, complex decision-making, or surgical interventions are required.


A thorough examination is required to discover the underlying reason for a 72-year-old male with a persistent cough and hemoptysis. More personal information, objective results, radiological tests, and diagnostic studies are required to provide an appropriate diagnosis. Bronchodilators, inhaled corticosteroids, smoking cessation support, and symptomatic alleviation are all possible treatments. Potential consequences must, however, be addressed, and additional laboratory tests may be done to provide more information about the patient’s condition. Collaboration with a pulmonologist may be advantageous in dealing with this challenging case.


A 72-year-old male presents to the clinic with 4 weeks of productive cough. He has a 10-year history of diagnosed COPD. He has a 45-year history of two packs a day cigarette smoking. He states he quit smoking due to financial needs about 6 years ago. He complains of pain in his chest from coughing, saying it is sore. He has noticed some dark-colored blood on his tissue.

Vital Signs: BP 137/90; HR 82; RR 22; BMI 23.

Chief Complaint: Persistent cough won’t go away with my normal cough medicine. Noticed blood on tissue from coughing.

Discuss the following:

1) What additional subjective information will you be asking of the patient?
2) What additional objective findings would you be examining the patient for?
3) What are the differential diagnoses that you are considering?
4) What radiological examinations or additional diagnostic studies would you order?
5) What treatment and specific information about the prescription will you give this patient?
6) What are the potential complications from the treatment ordered?
7) What additional laboratory tests might you consider ordering?
8) Will you be looking for a consult?

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