Thoracic surgery for haemoptysis in the context of tuberculosis: what is the best management approach?
Haemoptysis is not an unusual finding in patients with old or active pulmonary tuberculosis. Because of bronchial artery or a branch of pulmonary artery erosion due to cavitary infiltration, bronchiectasis, fungus ball, broncholithiasis or destroyed lung, the bleeding can sometimes be a life-threatening situation. Assessment of the patient and finding the exact site of bleeding can be difficult especially in a patient with disseminated lung disease. Chest computerized tomography and bronchoscopy remain the methods of choice for lateralization of the disease. Some patients can be treated successfully with endobronchial interventions. Bronchial artery embolization can be rewarding in some patients but the recurrence rate is higher in tuberculosis than other etiologies of haemoptysis. Surgical resection of the lung, mainly lobectomy, remains a life-saving procedure but it should be performed very selectively to avoid higher postoperative morbidity and mortality. Different management options of haemoptysis in patients with pulmonary tuberculosis are discussed in this manuscript.