Author: Julie Steenhuysen
(Reuters) – Scientists in Canada have found a new type of lung damage associated with vaping, which they believe is associated with flavors in conventional pens that cause symptoms similar to popcorn lung injury v
A case published on Thursday by the Canadian Association of Medical Associations involved a 17-year-old man who developed a form of bronchiolitis, severe and irreversible lung damage caused by chemical exposure.
This condition is associated with diacetyl, a chemical that gives microwave poppy its butter taste and a known cause of bronchiolitis. Various studies have also found diacetyl in fluid vapor.
A healthy Canadian teen appeared on call at a community hospital in Ontario last spring with a strong cough. He was diagnosed with pneumonia and prescribed antibiotics. Five days later, he returned with worsening symptoms and was taken and received intravenous antibiotics. At that time, he was transferred to the London Health Sciences Center and underwent extracorporeal membrane oxygenation or ECMO, an extreme treatment that takes over the lung work. It stabilized him, but it did not change the state.
"I was concerned that his lungs could never recover enough to get him out of the machine," said Dr. Karen Bosma, London Intensive Care Physician and author of the study.  Fearing that he may need a lung transplant, the team transferred the young man to a regional transplant center in Toronto. Because testing excluded infection, doctors decided to try high-dose steroids to help reduce inflammation.
The patient reported using both flavored nicotine fumes and THC, a psychoactive agent, in marijuana. Doctors suspected vaping-related injuries before the outbreak was reported in the US.
Although the case shares a similarity with more than 2,000 cases of vaping-related diseases in the United States, the injury is different. Instead of damaged air bags in the lungs, the adolescent had damaged airways that his doctors believe were caused by chemical injury.
"This is a new finding," Bosma said.
Several vaping chemicals could cause injury, she said, but the team focused on diacetyl because it proved to cause similar diseases.
Four months after his release, adolescents had difficulty breathing. Bosma said it was unclear whether his lungs would recover.
"This is irreversible in patients with popcorn lungs."
(Report by Julie Steenhuysen; Editing Bill Berkrot)