Man coughs up 'perfect' blood clot

08 December, 2018, 00:57 | Author: Sherman Richardson
  • Man coughs up 'perfect' blood clot

Despite the best efforts of intensive care staff at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center, the man died a week later.

The doctors treating the patient were "astonished" after they unfurled the clot to find it had retained the shape of the lung pathway from which it came.

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).

"His medical history included heart failure with an ejection fraction of 20 percent, bioprosthetic aortic-valve replacement for bicuspid aortic stenosis, endovascular stenting of an aortic aneurysm, and placement of a permanent pacemaker for complete heart block", the NEJM report says. And in the midst of one coughing fit he hawked up a bronchial tree - a series of tubes that distribute air to the lungs.

But then, during an "extreme bout of coughing", the patient spit out an "intact cast" of the right bronchial tree.

The right bronchial tree consists of three segmental branches in the upper lobe (blue arrows), two segmental branches in the middle lobe (white arrows), and five segmental branches in the lower lobe (black arrows).

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Georg Wieselthaler, a transplant and pulmonary surgeon at UCSF, told the Atlantic his team was easily able to identify the origin of the clot, it was so detailed.

In January 2012, a 40-year-old woman in Birmingham, U.K also herniated her lung, having it protrude from two of her ribs after a violent cough.

"It's a curiosity you can't imagine".

Unfortunately, the patient who coughed up the curious clot died from complications of heart failure a week later, the Journal said.

The 25-year-old mum went on to recover fully and delivered a healthy, full-term baby soon after.

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