A 36 year old man coughed up a blood clot in the exact shape of a bronchial tree, astonishing the doctors who were caring for him at UCSF medical center. The discovery was tweeted by the New England Journal of Medicine as part of their “Images in Clinical Medicine” series.
The incident was written up in the Huffington Post:
An unnamed 36-year-old male patient who had been admitted to ICU for aggressive end-stage heart failure spontaneously coughed up the medical marvel, according to Georg Wieselthaler, a transplant and pulmonary surgeon at the University of California at San Francisco who spoke to The Atlantic. It occurred after the patient had been coughing up much smaller clots for days. When this particular clot came out of the patient, it was initially “oddly shaped” and “folded in on itself,” per the Atlantic. 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 solely on the number of branches and their alignment.”
The patient unfortunately passed away a week later. He had a history of heart failure, had a permanent pacemaker, and was on anticoagulant medication. Doctors are looking into whether or not his medication caused the clot.