Vape-injured Patient Receives Double-lung Transplant

A patient with a vaping-related lung injury has received a double-lung transplant at Detroit’s Henry Ford Hospital. The man’s lungs were reportedly damaged beyond repair by vaping. The hospital system believes it is the first in the country to perform this type of surgery on a patient with this type of lung damage.

More information on the patient and his condition will be provided by the hospital at a scheduled press conference. To maintain his privacy, the patient will not attend the conference, but has given permission for the doctors to let the public know about his condition and to show pictures of his injuries.

Cases of e-cigarette or vaping-associated lung injury, also referred to as EVALI, have climbed to at least 2,051, as of November 5. There are patients in one U.S. territory and every state in the country with the exception of Alaska. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least 40 deaths have been reported by state health departments so far.

The CDC has yet to pinpoint any one compound or ingredient that has caused these illnesses, but is working closely with local health departments and the US Food and Drug Administration to pinpoint what exactly is happening. They have found that all EVALI patients have reported a history of using e-cigarette or vape products and many who got sick reported using vape products that contain tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. THC is the chemical that causes most of marijuana’s psychoactive effects. 

Last week, health officials reported a possible connection between vitamin E acetate, an additive in some THC products, with EVALI. They are also looking to see if additional factors may be to blame and trying to figure out what the risk factors may be, if any, among those who have gotten sick. Until more is known, the CDC recommends people refrain from using e-cigarette or vaping products, especially those that contain THC.