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Lancet Respir Med. 2019 Dec;7(12):1017-1026. doi: 10.1016/S2213-2600(19)30415-1. Epub 2019 Nov 8.

E-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury (EVALI): case series and diagnostic approach.

Author information

1
Department of Medicine, Pulmonary Diseases and Critical Care, University of Rochester, Rochester NY, USA. Electronic address: aleksandr_kalininskiy@urmc.rochester.edu.
2
Department of Medicine, Pulmonary Diseases and Critical Care, University of Rochester, Rochester NY, USA; Strong Memorial Hospital, Rochester, NY, USA.
3
Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Rochester, Rochester NY, USA; Strong Memorial Hospital, Rochester, NY, USA; Upstate New York Poison Center, Syracuse, NY, USA.
4
New York State Department of Health, Albany, NY, USA; Center for Environmental Health, Albany, NY, USA.
5
Upstate New York Poison Center, Syracuse, NY, USA; Department of Emergency Medicine, Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY, USA.
6
New York State Department of Health, Albany, NY, USA; Center for Environmental Health, Albany, NY, USA; Department of Pediatrics, Albany Medical Center, Albany, NY, USA.
7
Department of Pediatrics, Pulmonology, University of Rochester, Rochester NY, USA; Strong Memorial Hospital, Rochester, NY, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Since June, 2019, more than 1000 new cases of e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury (EVALI) have been reported in the USA. Patients presented with dyspnoea, cough, and were found to be hypoxaemic with bilateral airspace opacities on chest imaging. Most patients required management in the intensive care unit and steroid therapy. All patients recovered with cessation of vaping, supportive care, and steroid therapy and remained symptom free at follow up. E-cigarette use continues to rapidly escalate in the USA, particularly among youth.

METHODS:

Cases were defined as patients admitted to the University of Rochester Medical Center (Rochester, NY, USA) who had used e-cigarettes or another vaping device in the 30 days before presentation, and who had bilateral airspace opacification on chest imaging (CT or x-ray). Case details were obtained via medical record review and patient interviews over the past 3 months including symptomatology, physical exam data, imaging studies, laboratory data, vaping history, and subsequent outpatient follow-up data. In collaboration with the New York State Department of Health, our hospital developed a novel clinical practice algorithm based on statewide physician feedback along with input from experts in environmental health, medical toxicology, infectious disease, epidemiology, and chronic disease prevention.

FINDINGS:

We report 12 cases treated for suspected EVALI at our medical centre between June 6, 2019, and Sept 15, 2019. Ten (83%) patients had dyspnoea, fever, and emesis and nine (75%) had cough. 11 (92%) patients reported the use of e-cigarette cartridges containing tetrahydrocannabinol oil. Although eight (67%) patients required admission to the intensive care unit for hypoxaemic respiratory failure, no deaths occurred. The median hospitalisation duration was 7 days (IQR 7-8). All patients completing follow up (6 [50%]) had resolution of previous chest CT findings and normal spirometry. The clinical algorithm focuses on the key signs and symptoms of EVALI and the importance of ruling out infection and other cardiopulmonary conditions before making a presumptive diagnosis of EVALI.

INTERPRETATION:

Patients with suspected EVALI in our cohort had life-threatening hypoxaemia, with 67% requiring management in the intensive care unit. Despite the severity of presentation, similar to previous reports of patients with EVALI, most patients improved within 1-2 weeks of initial presentation after vaping cessation and administration of systemic corticosteroids when needed. Almost all (92%) patients with suspected EVALI reported vaping a THC product, making THC containing e-liquids or oils a key focus on the ongoing nationwide investigations into the cause of EVALI. Additional research is required to understand the potential toxins, underlying pathophysiological mechanisms, and identification of susceptible individuals at higher risk for hospitalisation due to EVALI. To our knowledge we present the first clinical practice algorithm for the evaluation and management of EVALI, which will be useful for both acute management and improved accurate reporting of this life-threatening respiratory illness.

FUNDING:

None.

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