Man died after coughing up lung after heart surgery

Image New England Journal of Medicine

In 2012, it was reported a 40-year-old in the United Kingdom literally coughed out her lung through her ribs.

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 unnamed patient was being treated at the intensive care unit at the University of California San Francisco Medical Centre, which was where reports say he started coughing violently.

A 36-year-old California man has passed away after suffering from chronic heart failure and coughing so severely that he coughed up a part of his lung.

The patient had a pacemaker fitted due to a history of poor cardiovascular health, according to the New England Journal of Medicine.

Doctors were treating him with oxygen tanks. But because these machines can also increase the risk of blood clots, he was prescribed a blood-thinner medication.

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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.

"We were astonished", Wieselthaler said.

Sadly, despite the best efforts of the medical team, the man died a week after coughing up the bronchial tube cast.

When Wieselthaler and his team delicately spread out the clot, they discovered "that the architecture of the airways had been retained so perfectly that they were able to identify it as the right bronchial tree based exclusively on the number of branches and their alignment".

The 36-year-old had been admitted to hospital with heart failure, but died during his first week of treatment. "It's a curiosity you can't imagine-I mean, this is very, very, very rare".

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