Pennsylvania teen develops ‘wet lung’ after vaping for 3 weeks, case study says


An 18-year-old Pennsylvania teen developed wet lung after smoking e-cigarettes for 3 weeks, according to a case study published Thursday in the medical journal Pediatrics.

This is the first recorded case of wet lung and acute respiratory distress as a result of smoking e-cigarettes as a teen, according to the report.

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The teen was a waitress in rural Pennsylvania who was otherwise healthy, according to CNN. She was not identified in the report. 

The case authors report that she went to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center after experiencing chest pain and difficulty breathing, but had no signs of a fever or a respiratory infection. 

She was eventually diagnosed with hypersensitivity pneumonitis, sometimes called wet lung. 

It is triggered by an allergic reaction to chemicals or dust and causes inflammation in the lungs, according to The American Lung Association

The woman developed respiratory failure and required a mechanical respirator to help her breathe again, said Dr. Daniel Weiner, one of the patient’s doctors who co-authored the report. 

She also needed tubes inserted in both sides of her chest to help drain her lungs.

After these emergency procedures, doctors said the woman’s health improved quickly.

The teen’s pediatrician and lead author of the study said he believes the chemicals in the e-cigarettes led to lung damage and inflammation, triggering an immune response in her body. 

Case authors advised wet lung should considered when diagnosing respiratory problems among e-cigarette users, and this case should prompt pediatricians to discuss the dangers of vaping with young patients.

Teen use of e-cigarettes appears to be growing rapidly, according to CNN.

2016 report from the U.S. Surgeon General cited a 900 percent increase in e-cigarette use by high school students from 2011 to 2015. 

The 2016 National Youth Tobacco Survey found that 1.7 million high school students admitted to using e-cigarettes in the previous 30 days.


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