An update on EVALI (e-cigarette, or vaping, product use–associated lung injury) reported in the New England Journal of Medicine reveals that as of January 2020, 2,558 patients have been hospitalised in the US, including 60 deaths.
Pulmonary illnesses associated with e-cigarette use have been widely reported since 2012. A comparison of clinical characteristics between the 60 patients who died from EVALI and the 2,558 patients who survived are reported.
The study results indicate that most patients with EVALI are male, and 73 per cent of those with fatal outcomes were 35 years or older. A higher proportion of fatal cases also had concomitant asthma (23% versus 8% of non-fatal cases), cardiac disease (47% versus 10% non-fatal), or a mental health condition (65% versus 41% non-fatal).
Those who survived EVALI were more likely to have received glucocorticoids.
Vitamin E acetate has emerged as the leading substance responsible for EVALI, although other substances in e-cigarette vapour could cause the acute and chronic pulmonary syndromes that have been observed, according to several other studies.
Until more information becomes available on the effect of e-cigarettes on consumers, it is useful to be aware that empirical glucocorticoid treatment could help reduce mortality from EVALI.