Dec. 11, 2018 — It looks like part of a lung, but it’s really a blood clot shaped perfectly like the airways in the lung, coughed up by a man with heart failure, according to the New England Journal of Medicine.
Titled “Cast of the Right Bronchial Tree,” it’s the journal’s latest “Image in Clinical Medicine,” compelling medical photos the NEJM publishes and tweets out regularly. The stories are accompanied by case details only a doctor could love. For the layman, though, it’s a window into interesting and rare cases and incidents.
In this case, the man who produced this outsized clot had had a ventricular device, a heart pump, implanted, according to the journal. He was put on a continuous blood thinner infusion and over the next week coughed up blood and showed “increasing respiratory distress.” Then he coughed up this perfect replica of the airways in his lung.
Doctors later inserted a tube down his trachea and into his lungs and found a little bit of blood in branches of his lower part of his right lung. He had no other episodes like this dramatic one, but unfortunately, he died of heart failure.