Doctors at Henry Ford Health System say they just completed the first-ever double lung transplant on a patient suffering from vaping-related lung injuries. While the operation is a breakthrough, many health experts are also using it to warn the public about the potential dangers of vaping.
Recently, the U.S. and other countries have seen a spate of lung injuries—many of which have turned fatal—that experts believe are directly linked to vaping.
Yesterday, the Henry Ford Health System, located in Detroit, Michigan, published a brief press release about the operation.
“A team of Henry Ford Health System medical experts performed what we believe is the first double lung transplant in the United States for a patient whose lungs were irreparably damaged from vaping,” the release stated.
According to the hospital, the patient has asked for his identity not to be released. However, the patient did give permission for the hospital to share updates and photos. According to the press release, the patient wants this information to help “warn others.”
So far, there has not been additional information besides this initial press release. But the hospital is scheduled to hold a press conference later today. At the conference, the hospital will likely provide updates on the patient’s status.
Lung Epidemic Linked to Vaping
This is the latest piece of news related to the ongoing epidemic of vaping-related lung illness. To date, the U.S. has seen more than 2,000 lung injuries. And experts say they are directly linked to vaping. Even worse, out of those injured, at least 39 patients have died.
The sudden uptick in vape-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths has become what many consider to be a public health crisis. Fortunately, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently said those numbers are dropping.
Cause of Epidemic Has Been Identified
Initially, experts were uncertain about the cause of these illnesses. But it appeared as if THC cartridges on the illicit market were especially dangerous.
In fact, one study from September showed that a high percentage of illegal vape cartridges contained a substance called vitamin E acetate. According to that study, 13 out of 15 illegal vapes had vitamin E.
Vitamin E acetate is reportedly used as a thickening agent in some vaping liquid. But when vaporized and inhaled, the substance can quickly become harmful, even deadly.
Since the release of that study in September, the CDC has focused even more on the dangers of vitamin E acetate. Just last Friday, the agency confirmed that the substance is likely the cause of the recent lung injuries.
“For the first time, we have detected a potential toxin of concern: vitamin E acetate,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC. “These findings provide direct evidence of vitamin E acetate at the primary site of injury within the lung.”
Now, in the wake of the recent double lung transplant, health experts are once again reminding the public of the potential dangers of vaping.
“It would be nice if it’s the last—if the epidemic of acute lung injury can be brought under control” professor of medicine Dr. David Christian told media source Global News.