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Respiratory Exam
 
 

Assessing Sputum

 
 
 
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Overview

Look for a sample of the patient's sputum at the bedside, as this can provide a lot of information about their respiratory pathology. Assess the specimen's volume, colour, consistency and smell.
  • Interpretation

  • ClearNormal
  • Copious clear sputumSuggestive of bronchoalveolar carcinoma
  • YellowViral infection, asthma
  • GreenPneumonia, bronchiectasis
  • Rusty sputumClassical of pneumococcal pneumonia
  • Red-currant jellyClassical of Klebsiella pneumonia
  • Pink frothy sputumPulmonary HTN
  • Blood-streaked sputumPharyngitis, bronchitis, lung cancer
  • Frank bloodOesophageal varices, Mallory-Weiss tear, oesophageal trauma
  • Offensively smelling sputumBronchiectasis, lung abscess, necrotizing pneumonia
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