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At first glance, it may resemble a beautiful piece of coral, a type of root system, or a brightly colored branch. However, you might be shocked to learn that this bright red object was actually coughed by a human – and is a six-inch-wide blood clot formed in the right bronchial tree of his lungs.
On Tuesday the New England Journal of Medicine tweeted the picture as part of his series on medical anomalies. In an accompanying article, Gavitt A. Woodard and Georg M. Wieselthaler, physicians at the University of California, San Francisco, explain that a 36-year-old man who has been suffering from heart failure for some time has been admitted to the intensive care unit heart failure.
The man's history was complicated and included "heart failure with 20% ejection fraction," bioprosthetic aortic valve replacement for bicuspid aortic stenosis, endovascular stenting of an aortic aneurysm, and placement of a permanent pacemaker for a complete heart block. "They wrote: To manage his acute heart failure, the doctors placed an Impella ventricular device ̵
"They have high levels of turbulence in the pumps, which can lead to the formation of clots," Dr. Wieselthaler The Atlantic said, "so in all these patients, you need to administer anticoagulants to to dilute the blood and prevent the formation of blood clots. "
In his first hospital week, the man coughed up blood and phlegm, and during one of these seizures, the imprint of his right bronchial tree came in. How did it happen? Wieselthaler explains that blood is likely has broken his pulmonary network into his right lung and bronchial tree. "We were amazed," explains e Wieselthaler continues. "It's a curiosity you can not imagine – I mean, that's very, very, very rare."
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While his patient felt much better after coughing a (lung) lung lung, it did little to help alleviate the severity of his situation. The doctors continued to treat him, but just over a week later he died of cardiac complications in heart failure.
Woodard and Wieselthaler felt the need to share the photo because it is so fascinating. "Recognizing the beautiful anatomy of the human body is the most important issue," explained Woodard.
On Twitter, the reactions contain a mixture of horror and fascination: