THESE shocking images of man’s tongue which had swollen and turned black is a sign of a rare blood clotting disorder.
The 71-year-old, who hasn’t been named, was admitted to hospital in the Japanese city of Tsu after his tongue became so large it blocked his airways.
When doctors tried to help him breathe his heart stopped twice and he ended up in intensive care for a week.
Detailing his injuries in the American Journal of Case Reports, doctors from Mie University Hospital explained that the man had haemophilia.
It’s a genetic illness which makes the body unable to clot blood on its own and can trigger life-threatening bleeding.
In this instance, the patient went to hospital after his wife noticed some darkness on is tongue.
He was also struggling to speak or swallow due to the swelling.
Dr Yuki Kageyama, who led the team of medics, said: “His tongue was extremely swollen, dark purple in colour, and protruded from his mouth.”
The team carried out scans of the man’s neck and chest and discovered that he had a “massive tongue haematoma” – a bruise-like swelling caused by blood building up under the skin.
Doctors gave him drugs to try and help the body clot and stop the bleeding itself but they failed to work and his tongue continued to swell.
It started to affect his breathing and he was taken into intensive care where medics attempted to put a tube down his windpipe to help him breathe.
But the pensioner “rapidly developed an airway obstruction” and he suffered cardiac arrest – causing his heart to stop.
Medics performed CPR for 10 minutes and managed to bring him back to life before doing emergency surgery to cut a hole in his neck so he could breathe.
But his ordeal wasn’t over as the next day the man’s heart stopped again due to bleeding caused by the surgery.
It took them nine minutes to bring him back round this time and “several hours” to stop the bleeding.
Three days later, the patient had another operation to install a more stable airway in his neck to breathe through.
This time the operation was a success and following 64 days in hospital he was finally discharged to another facility for rehabilitation.
What is haemophilia and what are the symptoms?
Haemophilia is a rare condition that affects the blood’s ability to clot. It’s usually inherited, and most people who have it are male.
Normally, when you cut yourself, substances in the blood known as clotting factors combine with blood cells called platelets to make the blood sticky. This makes the bleeding stop eventually.
People with haemophilia don’t have as many clotting factors as there should be in the blood. This means they bleed for longer than usual.
The symptoms of haemophilia can be mild to severe, depending on the level of clotting factors you have.
The main symptom is bleeding that doesn’t stop, also called prolonged bleeding.
People with haemophilia may have:
- nosebleeds that take a long time to stop
- bleeding from wounds that lasts a long time
- bleeding gums
- skin that bruises easily
- pain and stiffness around joints, such as elbows, because of bleeding inside the body (internal bleeding)
Blood tests can diagnose haemophilia and find out how severe it is.
If there’s no family history of haemophilia, it’s usually diagnosed when a child begins to walk or crawl.
There’s no cure for haemophilia, but treatment usually allows a person with the condition to enjoy a good quality of life.
Genetically engineered clotting factor medicines are used to prevent and treat prolonged bleeding. These medicines are given as an injection.
In milder cases, injections are usually only given in response to prolonged bleeding. More severe cases are treated with regular injections to prevent bleeding.
Dr Kageyama’s team said: “Our report describes an extremely rare case of a patient who fully recovered from cardiopulmonary arrest secondary to suffocation.
“Because the usual intubation techniques such as oral and nasal insertion are extremely difficult to perform in a patient with massive airway haemorrhage, one should not hesitate to perform cricothyrotomy or tracheotomy [making an incision in the neck to breathe through].
“If there is even a slight possibility of airway obstruction, hospitalisation and evaluation by a specialist are essential.”
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