This week, expert radiologists published a special report on vaping and lung injuries. The report is designed to help medical teams diagnose e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury (EVALI).

EVALI is now the official name of the “vaping illness” that has been sweeping the United States—and not other countries. Whether it is more of a cluster of lung injuries or an illness, radiologists will certainly continue to help identify the problem.

Special report on vaping helps diagnose EVALI

According to the CDC, as of October 29, 2019, 1,888 cases of EVALI in 49 US states, the District of Columbia, and one US territory have been reported. 37 cases have resulted in deaths in 24 states.

However, it is totally possible that these numbers aren’t telling the whole story. The researchers from the report present these guidelines to help improve recognition and reporting of EVALI, which is easily missed or confused.

In the special report on vaping, the doctors summarize recent cases. They also use a clinical example to provide CT and radiographic images of lung injuries typical of EVALI. Specifically, the case study showed a 24-year-old male patient’s chest X-ray, CT scans, and other clinical results.

The patient had ground-glass and netlike opacities in both lungs. There were some specimens from a biopsy that suggested lipoid pneumonia. Doctors treated the patient with steroids.

The report concludes by describing criteria for clinicians to use as they work to identify EVALI. For purposes of EVALI surveillance, the report suggests teams watch for all the following criteria:

  • dabbing, vaping, use of butane hash oils, or e-cigarettes within 90 days of onset of symptoms

  • ground-glass or pulmonary opacities on chest X-rays or CT images

  • no pulmonary infection at time of workup

  • no evidence of plausible alternative diagnoses

In other words, suspect EVALI only when ALL of those factors are present.

Of course, there’s no way to determine all of these factors without medical help. If you have respiratory symptoms and you are concerned, contact a medical professional, and find out about the latest CDC information here.

See images from the report here, and read the full special report on vaping here: “Electronic Cigarette or Vaping-associated Lung Injury (EVALI): The Tip of the Iceberg”