In what might be a candidate for the grossest photo of the year, a medical journal has tweeted a photo of a six-inch-wide human blood clot coughed up in the shape of a lung passage.
The giant blood gloop came from a 36-year-old man who was rushed to hospital with chronic heart failure. After arriving he was connected to a machine to help his blood flow and given anti-coagulants to help his blood flow.
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But the anti-coagulants forced blood out of his pulmonary system and into his lower right lung. And after days of coughing up tiny blood clots, he finally ejected a giant cast of his lung's bronchial tree.
"During an extreme bout of coughing, the patient spontaneously expectorated an intact cast of the right bronchial tree," the New England Journal of Medicine wrote.
The bizarre object left University of California transplant and pulmonary surgeon Georg Wieselthaler shocked.
"We were astonished," he said. "It's a curiosity you can't imagine - I mean, this is very, very, very rare."
He says the patient had higher levels of the protein that causes blood clotting in his system, and this could helped the clot stay intact.
Doctors said the man felt much better after coughing up the clot, but it failed to improve his condition. A week later, he died from heart failure complications.