Published: Sat, December 08, 2018
Medical | By Vicki Mclaughlin

Doctors amazed after man coughs up blood clot of lung bronchial tree

Doctors amazed after man coughs up blood clot of lung bronchial tree

A man who later died stunned doctors by coughing up a six-inch-wide blood clot from his lungs in the near-perfect shape of his right bronchial tree.

The unidentified patient, whose case was written about in the New England Journal of Medicine, was receiving treatment at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Medical Center and had previously been fitted with a pacemaker.

He had been hooked up to a ventricular assist device - used to help circulate blood around the body - and administered anti-coagulation therapy (blood thinners).

While doctors still aren't 100 per cent sure how the clot stayed completely intact on its way up the man's throat, Dr Wieselthaler suspected it was because the man had more fibrinogen in his blood.

In 2012, it was reported a 40-year-old in the United Kingdom literally coughed out her lung through her ribs. Indeed, the patient had several coughing episodes in which he expelled small amounts of blood, according to the report. In other words, it was a mold (cast) made of clotted blood in the shape of the lung's branched airway passages known as bronchi.

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"You have high turbulence inside the pumps, and that can cause clots to form inside", Wieselthalers told The Atlantic. "It's a curiosity you can't imagine-I mean, this is very, very, very rare".

Bronchial tree clots (called casts) are actually relativelycommon but only in extremely rare cases do they emerge in such pristine condition.

Doctors are bewildered as to how an extraordinarily shaped blood clot came out of a patient.

Sadly, the patient died from complications of heart failure almost a week later.

Wieselthaler's colleague, Dr. Gavitt Woodard, a clinical fellow at UCSF, told the Atlantic that one reason they chose to publish the image was to show the "beautiful anatomy of the human body".

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