Man coughs up blood clot in shape of a lung

Grant Boone
December 8, 2018

The 36-year-old man was admitted to the intensive care unit at University of California, San Francisco with symptoms of chronic heart failure, and during the next week, had coughed up small amounts of blood and had breathing problems.

The New England Journal of Medicine posted a story about a 36-year-old man who had a blot clot in his lung and when it came out, it looked just like part of his lung.

You might think twice about the phrase "cough up a lung" after reading this.

But it wasn't a piece of coral, or even something doctors had removed themselves - it was an intact, perfectly formed blood clot cast that a patient had spat up after "an extreme bout of coughing".

The man reportedly had a medical history that included heart failure; he had previously been fitted for 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).

A man smokes an electronic cigarette vaporizer also known as an e-cigarette in Toronto
REUTERS Mark BlinchLong-Term Vaping Could Affect Lungs COPD Is'Killer Worldwide- Professor

The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) posted a picture on Twitter of a coughed up blood clot in the shape of a patient's right lung's bronchial tree.

"We were astonished", pulmonary surgeon Georg Wieselthaler told The Atlantic of the clot. But because these machines can also increase the risk of blood clots, he was prescribed a blood-thinner medication.

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).

Wieselthaler called the occurrence "very, very, very rare".

After coughing up the bronchial tree, doctors immediately intubated him and performed a bronchoscopy, but he later died from heart failure complications ('volume overload and poor cardiac output'), despite the placement of the ventricular assist device.

Infighting hits Merkel's party before vote on successor
Merkel announced in October she would give up the reins in her party, though she plans to serve her current term as chancellor. They were said to be reasonably close, and the lack of communication between the two raised eyebrows at the time.

Other reports by

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER