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1. a mass of salivary matter ejected from the mouth
2. saliva ejected from the mouth mixed with mucus or pus exuded from the respiratory passages, as in bronchitis or bronchiectasis



pathological secretions from the respiratory tract that are discharged with a cough; they are the product of the overactivity of the mucous glands. Sputum often contains epithelial cells, bits of lung tissue, blood, and pus. The amount of sputum, as well as its appearance, is important in the diagnosis of disease.

Sputum may be mucous, purulent, serous, bloody, or mixed. Rusty sputum (sputum mixed with and colored by blood) is a sign of lobar pneumonia. Abundant purulent sputum is characteristic of a ruptured abscess in the lungs. Gray, dirty, malodorous sputum appears when there is putrefactive decomposition of lung tissue.

Sputum may be examined in a laboratory with the aid of a microscope and also by bacteriological and cytological analyses. Laboratory examination makes it possible to detect pathogenic microorganisms (including the causative agent of tuberculosis), cells of malignant tumors, and certain other elements that are characteristic of certain diseases, and to determine the sensitivity of bacterial flora to antibiotics.


Material discharged from the surface of the respiratory passages, mouth, or throat; may contain saliva, mucus, pus, microorganisms, blood, or inhaled particulate matter in any combination.
References in periodicals archive ?
Cavitary mass is a rare imaging feature of IgG4-RLD and should be differentiated from lung cancer, especially in patients with bloody sputum.
People suffering from acute cases of hemoptysis or bloody sputum have high mortality risk.
While chest pain, or pain with breathing or coughing that persists for three or more weeks, coughing up bloody sputum from deep inside the lungs, unexplained weight loss, consistent low-grade fever, chills, haemoptysis, excessive night sweats, loss of appetite etc.
She also had extended close contact with patient A on June 29-30 while he was coughing bloody sputum.
Patients B and C, both family members of patient A, went to a hospital 3 days after patient A's death, with fever, cough productive of bloody sputum, and pleuritic chest pain.
We defined a probable pneumonic plague case as an acute-onset respiratory illness with bloody sputum during December 2004 in Kango Subcounty, Uganda.
He expectorated bloody sputum after running and on a few other occasions.