USA – Usatoday.com writes that a 17-year-old boy recently underwent a double lung transplant because of the vaping-related illness EVALI (defined below). The teen spent more than a month in the hospital because of the e-cigarette-related disease before undergoing surgery in October.
Reports indicate the patient is the first in the United States to have a double lung transplant performed as a treatment for a lung disease caused by vaping. According to one of the ten surgeons who performed the complicated operation, the teen would have died without the transplant.
EVALI is an acronym used to describe “e-cigarette or vaping-associated lung injury.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, EVALI has sickened more than 2,000 people in the United States since last March.
Out of the total number diagnosed with the illness, 39 died. Many of the patients suffering from EVALI reported using vaping products that contain THC. Marijuana-derived THC is the chemical that gives the drug’s users psychoactive effects.
After performing the surgery, one of the doctors told reporters that he had never seen the type of damage he witnessed in the boy’s lungs, which included scarring, inflammation, and dead tissue. The surgeon referred to what he saw as “evil.”
The unnamed teen first sought treatment in September for symptoms similar to those experienced by patients with pneumonia. His condition continued to worsen, and doctors placed him on an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine, which performed the work of the boy’s heart and lungs while he healed. However, his health declined, further prompting doctors to place him on the transplant list.
The anesthesiologist who worked with the surgeons said that the patient should not be considered one unlucky user of vaping products, but that the condition is frequently happening. Another doctor said these early cases are only the beginning.
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