Man coughs up a part of his lung after being hospitalised

Alicia Farmer
December 8, 2018

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

Doctors working at the hospital said the man instantly felt better after coughing up the clot but the size of it suggested the 36-year-old's condition was severe.

In a case report from the New England Journal of Medicine, the man had been admitted to the University of California San Francisco Medical Center with chronic heart failure.

It was originally folded in on itself, and the treating doctor, Georg Wieselthaler and his team carefully unfolded it, and were shocked at what they saw.

The patient, who had a history of heart problems, had been placed on oxygen and given blood thinners to help circulate blood and prevent clogging. 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.

According to a case report from the New England Journal of Medicine published on November 29, during a particularly violent coughing spell, the man coughed up his right bronchial tree - all intact.

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"During an extreme bout of coughing, the patient spontaneously expectorated an intact cast of the right bronchial tree", the journal explained. But because these machines can also increase the risk of blood clots, he was prescribed a blood-thinner medication.

"We were astonished", he said.

"It's a curiosity you can't imagine". One week after extubation, he died from complications of heart failure (volume overload and poor cardiac output) despite placement of the ventricular assist device.

In 2005, a heavily pregnant woman coughed up a similar but smaller bronchial tree clot.

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

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