Published: Fri, December 07, 2018
Medical | By

Patient coughs up blood clot shaped like lung

Patient coughs up blood clot shaped like lung

When Wieselthaler and his team delicately spread out the clot, they discovered "that the architecture of the airways had been retained so perfectly that they were able to identify it as the right bronchial tree based exclusively on the number of branches and their alignment".

On Monday, the New England Journal of Medicine tweeted a startling picture as part of its "Images in Clinical Medicine" photo series, which features photos of medical anomalies.

In a medically-worded tweet, the NEJM explained what happened.

The 36-year-old had been admitted to hospital with heart failure, but died during his first week of treatment.

"After a ventricular assist device was placed and anticoagulation therapy initiated, haemoptysis developed, and he expectorated a cast of the right bronchial tree", the journal wrote.

While being treated in hospital, he started coughing up blood and mucus, which apparently increased the strain on his lungs, and doctors had started treating him with oxygen tanks.

"You have high turbulence inside the pumps, and that can cause clots to form inside", Dr Georg Wieselthaler said.


Doctors were surprised by the blood clot cast. But it's not anything fantastically fictional - it's a real blood clot that came out of the body of human being and is the exact shape of a lung passage.

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

Dr Wieselthaler carefully spread out the coughed-up clot, realising it was the flawless shape.

"We were astonished", Wieselthaler said.

This kind of clot isn't unheard of in patients, but what was unusual was how intact it was.

Fibrinogen is a type of protein in the blood that works to glue platelets together.

The man died from heart complications a week after coughing up the clot. The woman recovered and delivered a healthy child.

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