KDPH Releases Vaping and Lung Injury Clinician Alert
Tuesday, September 03, 2019 2:12 PM
The Kentucky Department for Public Health (KDPH) is alerting clinicians
about the possibility of seeing patients with progressive, severe pulmonary
disease related to the use of e-cigarettes or “vaping.” As of August 27, at
least 215 possible cases in 25 states have been reported to the U.S.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). One death has been
reported in Illinois. These pulmonary injuries are particularly seen among
adolescents and young adults. Patients are experiencing respiratory
symptoms including cough, shortness of breath and fatigue, and symptoms
typically worsen over a period of days or weeks before admission to the
hospital. Other symptoms reported by some patients included fever,
anorexia, pleuritic chest pain, nausea and diarrhea. Chest radiographs
show bilaterial opacities, typically in the lower lobes, and CT imaging of
the chest show diffuse ground-glass opacities, often with subpleural
sparing. Evaluation for infectious etiologies was negative in all patients.
Some patients experience progressive respiratory compromise requiring
endotracheal intubation. Patients have improved with systemic steroids.
All patients reported vaping in the weeks and months prior to hospital
admission. The names and types of products remain unknown. The products
consumed could include a number of substances, such as nicotine, THC,
synthetic cannabinoids or a combination of these. Clinicians are
encouraged to remain alert for potential cases among persons presenting
with progressive respiratory symptoms who report a history of inhalation
drug use, particularly vaping.
Clinicians who become aware of cases similar to those described above are
asked to report them to KDPH. All potential cases should be reported on the
EPID 200 reportable disease form and submitted via secure fax at:
502-696-3803. The illness name can be listed as, “Vaping - Lung Injury.”
If vaping fluid and devices commonly used by the patient are available at
the patient visit, please collect and retain these for possible testing.
For questions, please contact Lara Daniels in the Kentucky Tobacco
Prevention and Cessation Program at 502-564-9358 ext. 4020 during business
hours or after-hours at 888-9-REPORT (888-973-7678).