Fatal recurrence of EVALI (e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury) symptoms is a “not uncommon scenario” in patients who were treated for the condition and then discharged from emergency departments, according to a report in MedPage Today.
“In their large national sample, eight of 60 (14%) EVALI-associated patients who died had been initially discharged but later experienced a recurrence that proved fatal,” researchers noted.
The report included a case study of a man in his early 30s who was admitted to the emergency department with nausea, vomiting and cough. He also reported feeling fatigued, weak and short of breath, had been feverish, and was a cigarette smoker and vaper. A CT scan revealed he had patchy interstitial infiltrates at the base of both lungs. The patient was treated with antibiotics and medication to address his vomiting, and was released.
Five days later, the patient returned to the emergency department with worsening respiratory issues. A CT scan showed bilateral ground-glass infiltrates and patchy consolidations throughout his lungs. The patient was admitted to the hospital and later said he had used nicotine-containing vaping products. His respiratory symptoms continued to worsen and he was ultimately diagnosed with suspected EVALI pneumonia. On his fifth day in the hospital, his condition improved to the point that he was released.
However, the patient’s nausea, vomiting and malaise continued after he returned home. Two days later he was found unresponsive. He was resuscitated and transported back to the emergency room but died a few hours later. It was not known whether he resumed vaping once he was discharged, but his family did report that he used THC-containing vape products within two days before his original visit to the doctor.
Reports of EVALI have declined after sharply increasing in August 2019 and peaking in September, according to the CDC. As of February 2020, 2,807 people have been hospitalized with the vape-related lung injury and at least 68 have died. Patients have reported using a variety of vaping products, including JUUL brand.
JUUL Labs, Inc. has come under fire in recent months for marketing its products to teens and young adults using flavored e-liquids and social media influencers. The company has also been called out for not warning that its products contain nicotine.
Beasley Allen lawyers Joseph VanZandt and Sydney Everett, together with Mass Torts Section Head Andy Birchfield, are currently representing several individuals who are suing the top U.S. vape maker JUUL for the negative impact its products have had on their lives. They also have filed lawsuits on behalf of school districts nationwide, which seek to protect students and recover resources spent fighting the vaping epidemic.