DETROIT – A 17-year-old boy is believed to be the first person in the United States with vaping-related injuries to receive a double lung transplant, doctors said during a news conference Tuesday.
The boy, whose family described him as a student athlete who loves sailing and playing video games with friends, underwent transplant surgery Oct. 15, after more than a month of hospitalization at three Detroit hospitals.
“This teenager faced imminent death had he not received a lung transplant,” said Dr. Hassan Nemeh, surgical director of thoracic organ transplant at Henry Ford Hospital, who was among the team of doctors who performed the boy’s surgery.
E-cigarette or vaping-associated lung injury, also referred to as EVALI, has sickened more than 2,000 people in the U.S. since March, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Among them, 39 people have died.
In Michigan, the state Department of Health and Human Services reports there have been 46 cases of vape-related lung injuries, including one death.
All EVALI patients have reported a history of using e-cigarette or vape products. Many who got sick said they used vape products that contain tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which is the chemical that causes most of marijuana’s psychoactive effects.
Henry Ford Hospital would not disclose what type of vape products the boy who received the double-lung transplant used, nor could it provide any identifying information about him.
However, Nemeh showed images of the boy’s lungs before and after double lung transplant.
“What I saw in his lungs is nothing that I have ever seen before, and I have been doing lung transplants for 20 years,” Nemeh said. “There was inflammation and scarring, and dead tissue. This is an evil that I haven’t faced before.”
The teenager was first admitted Sept. 5 to Ascension St. John Hospital in Detroit with pneumonia-like symptoms. But his health continued to decline, and he was transferred to Children’s Hospital of Michigan on Sept. 12.
There, he was placed on a machine called ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation), which did the work of his heart and lungs to keep him alive while his organs were given time to heal.
But the teenager’s health continued to deteriorate. He was transferred to Henry Ford , a lung transplantation center, on Oct. 3, and five days later, he was placed on the transplant list.
A week later, the boy had new lungs.
Read the rest at: Lungs