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Sputum

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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