Patient’s Persistent Cough Turns Out to Be Caused by Chicken Bone Stuck in Lung for 14 Years

A 22-year-old Chinese woman who suffered from a persistent cough was shocked to learn that she had a piece of chicken bone lodged in her lung.

After 14 years of checkups and X-rays to figure out what had been causing her persistent coughing for the last 14 years, a 22-year-old unnamed woman from China recently learned that it had all been caused by a chicken bone. The woman’s problems started after she suffered a serious coughing fit when she was seven or eight years old, and despite numerous hospital visits, no one could spot any anomalies that might be causing her uncontrollable coughing.

Photo: Petko Yotov/Wikimedia Commons

Unwilling to simply accept her coughing fits and breathing problems as part of her daily life, the woman continued seeking medical help, and was misdiagnosed several times in the process, including with bronchiectasis, a condition characterised by mucus-rich coughs due to damaged airways. Unfortunately, after years of taking antibiotics to treat the disease, her condition hadn’t improved at all.

As fate would have it, the woman would finally discover the cause of her pesky coughing totally by accident. She had decided to get surgery for hyperhidrosis (hyper sweating), but doctors had to run some tests to make sure she was healthy enough to be operated on. That’s when her respiratory problems came up, so Wang Jiyong, Deputy Head of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the First Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, ordered a set of CT scans.

Photo: Asia Wire

The scans revealed what looked like a foreign object lodged in the patient’s right lung, so surgeon Yang Ming decided to perform a bronchoscopy to identify it. The 30-minute procedure involved a tube with a light and small camera at the end being inserted through her mouth, down through the airways all the way to the lungs.

Dr. Ming managed to find the mysterious object in the woman’s right lung and then retrieve it with the bronchoscope. It turned out to be a chicken bone fragment about 2cm-long. Upon hearing the news, the shocked patient told doctors that she had no idea how the bone had ended up in her lung, but doctors said that it was likely inhaled by accident, during her childhood, probably when she had that first coughing fit that started it all.

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