Annals of Thoracic Medicine Official publication of the Saudi Thoracic Society, affiliated to King Saud University
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Year : 2023  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 1-9

The implications of Vitamin E acetate in E-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injury

Department of Medicine, State University of New York Downstate Health Sciences University, NY, USA

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Patrick Geraghty
Department of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, State University of New York Downstate Health Sciences University, 450 Clarkson Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11203
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/atm.atm_144_22

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In the summer of 2019, a cluster of cases were observed with users of battery-operated or superheating devices presenting with multiple symptoms, such as dyspnea, cough, fever, constitutional symptoms, gastrointestinal upset, and hemoptysis, that is now termed e-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injury (EVALI). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 2807 cases within the USA leading to at least 68 deaths as of February 18, 2020. The heterogeneous presentations of EVALI make diagnosis and treatment difficult; however, treatment focused on identifying and removal of the noxious substance and providing supportive care. Vitamin E acetate (VEA) is a likely cause of this lung injury, and others have reported other components to play a possible role, such as nicotine and vegetable glycerin/propylene glycol. EVALI is usually observed in adolescents, with a history of vaping product usage within 90 days typically containing tetrahydrocannabinol, and presenting on chest radiograph with pulmonary infiltrates or computed tomography scan with ground-glass opacities. Diagnosis requires a high degree of suspicion to diagnose and exclusion of other possible causes of lung disease. Here, we review the current literature to detail the major factors contributing to EVALI and primarily discuss the potential role of VEA in EVALI. We will also briefly discuss other constituents other than just VEA, as a small number of EVALI cases are reported without the detection of VEA, but with the same clinical diagnosis.

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