"We were astonished": the man coughing up the blood clot in the form of a pulmonary passage


A man in treatment for a cardiac arrest spat a massive blood clot in the perfect shape of his lung passage, and the image attracted equal amounts of astonishment and heartbreak online.

The image, which was published in a medical anomaly in the New England Journal of Medicine, shows the bright red clot 15 centimeters wide with identical branches to the patient's right lung bronchial tree.

According to the description of the image, the 36-year-old patient spit out the clot "during an extreme cough crisis." This provided temporary relief to the patient, but he died nine days later due to complications of heart failure.

"We were amazed," said Georg M. Wieselthaler, the pulmonary surgeon who operated on the patient, at The Atlantic. "It's a curiosity you can not imagine – I mean, this is very, very, very rare."

Wieselthaler had the patient's heart attached to a device designed to aid blood flow, but these devices may cause clotting, which could explain the size of the clot. He added that surgeons still do not know how they could have left without breaking.

Although extremely unusual, this is not entirely unknown. In 2005, the European Journal of Cardio Thoracic Surgery published a similar photo of a bronchial tree clot that a 25-year-old pregnant woman spat. This clot was much smaller, however.

The image has become viral since it was published last week, with people comparing it to an illuminated Christmas tree, a pile of licorice and coral. Others are asking for advice on how to avoid seeing the image.


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