A MAN who arrived at hospital with back pain was found to have a giant blood clot in his lungs.
The clot measured a staggering 20cm or 8ins and had moulded to fit the patient's airways.
As a result the huge mass looked like a part of the man's lungs when doctors managed to remove it using a breathing tube and suction.
The 64-year-old man appeared to improve immediately afterwards, doctors at Imperial College Healthcare Trust in London said.
But, he soon took a turn for the worse and died after his life support was turned off, a BMJ case report revealed.
Doctors led by Dr Charles Coughlan, said the patient arrived at his local hospital with a "short history of back pain, fever and malaise".
He had a very low blood pressure and medics began treating him for septic shock.
The unnamed patient was admitted into the hospital's intensive care and put on a ventilator, before being transferred to Imperial, where they have a specialist unit.
There, CT scans revealed the patient had a pulmonary embolism - a blood clot in the lungs.
Doctors then carried out a bronchoscopy, inserting a camera into the man's airways to try and locate the clot.
They discovered a "large pale blood clot" that was attached to a tube, inserted to help the patient breathe.
The clot had built up - and is classified as a bronchial cast of the trachea, because it moulded to the shape of the airways.
Docs pulled out on tube
Dr Coughlan's team wrote: "Despite multiple attempts, this could not be removed by suction."
Instead, medics had to sedate their patient and paralyse him, to pull out the breathing tube with the giant clot attached.
It measured 7.8ins (20cm) and looked like the tubes inside the lungs, with five branches coming off it.
Immediately after removing the mass, the man's breathing improved.
Dr Coughlan said: "Inspection of the cast suggested it was old and well-formed with blood of different ages."
He said common causes of the condition include use of blood thining drugs, infection, autoimmune diseases and tumours.
MORE CASE REPORTS
In the case of their patient, the team said they believe it dislodged when the patient was moved on to his right side, when medics inserted a chest drain.
Other tests carried out revealed the patient was suffering bowel cancer, MRSA, a bacterial infection and an infection of this heart tissue.
Due to his severe condition medics determined that he was unlikely to survive any further surgery.
With his family's permission, the man's life support was withdrawn and he passed away.
In a similar case, reported last year, a man died after coughing up a giant clot in his lung after being treated for heart failure.