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Phlem - brown in color
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Phlem - brown in color

Have severe COPD/Emphysema. Lately have been bringing up Phelm slightly brown in color...can anyone tell me what this means?
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If it is only the first thing in the morning that you are bringing up slightly brown phlegm, it may not mean much of anything.  However, if the slightly brown color is new and continues throughout the day, it probably means you have an infection.  In this case you should contact your doctor.
4 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Hey there,

Brown sputum is usually an indication of old blood. Where this blood originates from is the real question. Soemtimes we'll see old bloody secreations in surgical patients. However, this is mostlikely not your case. It is somewhat common for COPD'ers to cough up a full range of colored sputum. White, clear, yellow, green, and even the browns and reds.

Take note of the frequency of your cough. Sometimes a hacking cough, especially in an Emphysmatic can cause erthemia (redness/inflamation of tissues) The chronic inflamation (inflammation) of the bronchi can cause capillary leakage. This is just fuddy-duddy way of saying "alittle bleeding".

Pay close attention to the color, consistancy, and volume of your secretions. Especially if you ever see any bright red blood. (this includes clear sputum with some hints of blood streaking) In any case, you should tell your doctor what you find. And keep coughing up that junk. Never let your chest rattle. You dont want those secretions to harvest any infections.

-Andy, RRT,CPFT
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks Andy, great explanation....I had pneumonia in January & perhaps the brown color is from that.  Have not seen any since a few days ago.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you for your input.  The brown phlem was in fact the first thing in the morning and it only occured two or three times.  Have been fine since.
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Avatar_n_tn
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