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Pulmonary Fibrosis

Black particles in sputum

07/06/2009

Question:

Hello Doctor, My husband is 30 years. He is suffereing from something like Allergic Bronchitis for the past 1 and a half years. He is getting tiny black particles in his sputum during any part of the day. His father was a severe COPD (heavy smoking) patient who passed away three months back. My husband doesn`t smoke neither has heavy alcohols. He was having a good athlete body, used to swim daily. I am surprised to see his illness. He has undergone CT chest, both with and without contrast. The report says "LEFT HILUM IS BULKY? VASCULAR PROMINANCE? ADENOPATHY, NO PLEURAL EFFUSION/PLEURAL THICKENING IS SEEN, DIFFUSE FATTY CHANGES IN THE LIVER, FIBROTIC LESIONS ARE SEEN IN THE LUNG APEX ON BOTH SIDES, NO OTHER SIGNIFICANT ABNORMALITY IS SEEN. He is under medication of some medicines and sprays. Doctor is saying there is no need to panic and will be fine soon. If required we shall go for Endoscope. But his health is not getting cured. The problem persists because of which his concentration in work is lost, get tired and irritated soon because of constant spitting. Please advise how to proceed further?

Answer:

Black particles in the sputum can be caused by many conditions, most commonly COPD from cigarette smoking or breathing dusty air in the environment or in the workplace. Sometimes old blood can appear black, also.

Adenopathy in the hilum means that the lymph nodes in the middle part of the chest are enlarged and this can result from current or past infection or from cancer.

Fibrotic lesions in the apex means scar tissue in the top portion of the lung and can be caused by many different conditions including infections (such as tuberculosis) and occupations (such as silicosis).

You should discuss these results with your physician and, if necessary, get a consultation from a pulmonologist.

For more information:

Go to the Pulmonary Fibrosis health topic, where you can:

Response by:

James N Allen, Jr, MD James N Allen, Jr, MD
Clinical Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University