EVALI – An E-cigarette and Vape-Related Lung Infection Everyone Should Know About:
What Should You Know About E-cigarette or Vaping Associated Lung Injury? What is EVALI?
EVALI is an abbreviation that stands for e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury. EVALI is the name of the dangerous, newly identified lung disease linked to vaping, according to Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is an inflammatory response of the lungs triggered by the inhaled substances from vaping.
What is a Vape?
Vaping involves using a device categorically called e-cigarettes and vape pens, mods, or tanks. It heats a small amount of liquid, turning it into a vapour that is inhaled. Most vape liquids, also known as e-juice or e-liquid, contain propylene glycol and glycerol as base ingredients that create the steam.
When was EVALI Recognized?
EVALI was first recognised by the CDC in August 2019 when suddenly severe to fatal lung infection cases arose in otherwise healthy individuals.
The ingredient that causes the symptoms of EVALI are still unknown to researchers; however, they initially suggested that Vitamin E acetate is the reason to cause Vape-related illness.
Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid from a more significant number of EVALI patients has been compared to BAL fluid from healthy people to rule out the cause. The results showed Vitamin E acetate in EVALI patients, whereas no trace of Vitamin E acetate has been found in healthy individuals.
However, CDC and FDA officials urge everyone to avoid e-cigarette or vaping products containing tetrahydrocannabinol. According to the CDC, THC has been detected in most of the EVALI case samples tested by the FDA.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the principal psychoactive chemical that is obtained from marijuana is found in many samples of the illness. Therefore, CDC has advised the public to look for ingredients before purchasing Vapes and to avoid the ones containing THC. Usually, THC is found in liquids obtained off-street.
The evidence regarding THC and Vitamin E acetate is not yet confirmed, but scientists strongly suggest an association of Vitamin E acetate with EVALI.
Diagnosing E-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury is a challenge because the symptoms of this lung condition mimic other respiratory diseases, like pneumonia and seasonal flu virus. They include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Fever and chills
- Diarrhoea, nausea, and vomiting
- Tachycardia (rapid heartbeat)
- Tachypnea (fast and shallow breathing)
There is no single test yet for EVALI. Instead, it is diagnosed as a “diagnosis of exclusion,” which means that a doctor conducts tests to rule out other potential diseases and conditions.
A diagnosis of EVALI may be made if the following criteria are met:
- The patient reports using an e-cigarette or vaping or dabbing, i.e., inhaling concentrated marijuana during the 90 days before symptoms are first noticed.
- A chest X-ray or CT scan showing hazy-looking spots (called opacities) in the lungs contrasts with a transparent black space in healthy lungs.
- Conducting tests for other lung infections that come back negative
There is no definitive treatment of EVALI as there are no long-term studies regarding its illness. Treatment of EVALI now depends on the severity of the disease.
Patients who are extremely ill and unable to breathe independently may need to be placed on a ventilator. Patients with less severe symptoms may require supplemental oxygen.
The primary medication treatments are:
- Corticosteroids: Medication that may reduce inflammation in the lungs.
- Antibiotics: These should be given to rule out any bacterial infection while tests are being carried out to diagnose the disease.
- Antivirals: These should be considered during influenza season to rule out Viral infection.
EVALI – An E-cigarette and Vape-Related Lung Infection Everyone Should Know About: Due to the lack of long-term data analysis and the fact that patients have died from EVALI, the prognosis for EVALI is uncertain. However, researchers are working hard to learn about the illness, its causes, and the odds of making a full recovery.