Doctors Explain How That Viral Image Of A LungShaped Blood Clot Happened

Doctors Explain How That Viral Image Of A LungShaped Blood Clot Happened
- Awareness
10 Dec, 2018 Uploaded by: Mick Presentation
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In a now-viral tweet, The New England Journal of Medicine released a photo featuring the 6-inch-wide blood clot on December 3. The creator of the cast, a 36-year-old man admitted to the ICU for heart failure, died a week later due to medical complications. When the human body is running properly, bronchi are pathways for the oxygen you breathe in and the carbon dioxide you expel. Like an upside down tree, the web of branches spindles out into smaller bronchioles that are closed at the tips by alveoli, where your bloodstream carries red blood cells to pick up and drop off oxygen and carbon dioxide. In the case of the unfortunate patient, there was much more than air in his bronchi. When he got admitted to the ICU, doctors hooked him to a ventricular assist device, called an Impella, that helps maintain blood flow. But the turbulence of the world’s smallest heart pumps can cause clots, so the doctors countered the effect by giving the man an anticoagulant to thin his blood. The anticoagulant comes with a price — with thinner blood, the body has trouble patching up any breaks or fissures that open internally. In this case, the patient’s blood made its way to his right bronchial tree, leaving him coughing small clots for days. To form the record-setting clot, doctors guess that an infection may have caused the patient to produce a higher concentration of a fibrinogen, a protein found in blood plasma that acts as “glue.” Gavitt Woodard, M.D., a clinical fellow at UCSF, figures this protein provided newfound hardiness that kept the clot intact. “Because it was so large, he was able to generate enough force from an entire right side of his thorax to push this up and out,”

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