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Lung diseases

Coughing up black stuff

08/07/2007

Question:

I have been coughing up black stuff. This occurs everyday. I have had drug use in my past and wondering if this is the cause. The last time I used was like 6 months ago, but I am still coughing this stuff up.

Please help.

Answer:

I am not sure what this represents – it could be dried blood (it tends to look dark red to blackish if it is sitting for a long time). It could also be some sort of contaminant – did you inhale the drugs (eg., crack), as you can have particulates deposited in your airway. Are you around anything like grinding rock or coal?

You should see someone and get a chest x-ray and determine the source of the problem and define the black material you are coughing up.

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Response by:

Clay B Marsh, MD Clay B Marsh, MD
Vice Dean of Medicine Administration
Professor of Molecular Virology, Immunology & Medical Genetics
Professor of Veterinary Biosciences
Associate Vice President of Health Sciences Research Administration
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University