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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 ?
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.
Patients described in this report had severe, rapidly progressive, respiratory disease with bloody sputum. The rapid worsening of symptoms soon after illness onset and the subsequent severe outcomes are consistent with simultaneous coinfection with influenza and MRSA rather than a biphasic infection course (i.e., influenza infection followed by S.
Overall, compared with index patients, caregivers' illnesses progressed more rapidly, including quicker bloody sputum onset (mean 1 vs.
Coughing, first noted on day 5, became productive a day later and bloody sputum was noted on day 7.
His cough became productive with bloody sputum on day 5 of illness, and he died on day 6.
On her arrival at Nyapea Hospital, a grossly bloody sputum sample was obtained (Figure 1A).
Twenty-five persons had direct contact with either patient (i.e., touched) after onset of cough productive of bloody sputum and before death, but only the 2 primary caregivers became ill (attack rate 2/25, 8%).
The night before index patient B 1 's death, he slept in the same bed as his 6-yearold daughter until the early morning, when his wife noted he was very ill and coughing bloody sputum. His daughter then moved to a straw mat on the floor of the 4 x 4 x 1.6 m windowless 1-room house with her mother and 3 siblings, who had been sleeping there.
Our case-patients were visibly short of breath, coughing grossly bloody sputum, and barely ambulatory before transmitting the disease.
He expectorated bloody sputum after running and on a few other occasions.
Past clinical history showed an evaluation of productive cough in 1996, with bloody sputum, night sweats, and intermittent fever; she underwent bronchoscopy with pathologic examination, which showed vascular congestion and focal intra-alveolar edema, but no specific pathogen was identified.