What is the prevalence of respiratory findings in cocaine toxicity?

Updated: Dec 31, 2020
  • Author: Lynn Barkley Burnett, MD, EdD, JD; Chief Editor: Sage W Wiener, MD  more...
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As reported in the literature, the primary acute pulmonary complaint associated with cocaine use is cough with black sputum (44% of patients). Chest pain is secondary, affecting 38% (pleurisy in 64% of patients with pain). Of patients with new-onset asthma who present to large urban EDs, 36.4% have a urine screen positive for cocaine (compared with 13.6% of control patients without asthma). Hemoptysis accounts for 25% of pulmonary complaints, the result of pulmonary and bronchial constriction and ischemia resulting in interstitial and alveolar hemorrhage.

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