Our human bodies are awful horrifying things, and the New England Journal of Medicine made sure to remind of us of that whole heartedly when it Tweeted out a photo of an artery clog that a heart failure patient coughed up that was in the exact shape of the artery. Ventricles and all, and doctors have absolutely no idea how something like this could happen.
According to the Atlantic, which first got wind of this terrifying lung couching story, the blood clot was in a patient who was ‘admitted to the intensive-care unit with aggressive end-stage heart failure’, and the patient’s surgeon, George Wieselthaler connected the patient to a specialized heart pump meant to ‘maximize blood flow’, but created further clots within the body. Said doctor Wieselthaler: “You have high turbulence inside the pumps, and that can cause clots to form inside. So with all these patients, you have to give them anticoagulants to make the blood thinner and prevent clots from forming.”
Said the Atlantic: “After days of coughing up much smaller clots, Wieselthaler’s patient bore down on a longer, deeper cough and, relieved, spit out a large, oddly shaped clot, folded in on itself. Once Wieselthaler and his team carefully unfurled the bundle and laid it out, they found 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.”
This is terrifying, and the patient in question passed away a week later due to complications from heart failure. Augh. Terrifying.
The blood clot meanwhile became an internet sensation as just another weird way for the people on Twitter to pass the time in between hot and cold takes.
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