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Ottawa, Nov 21 (Canadian-Media): First documented case of an Ontario teen was put on life-support with a severe vaping-related illness -- more in line with "popcorn lung" -- linked to e-cigarettes, according to a study published Thursday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ).
Canada Medical Association. Image credit: Facebook page
Medically known as bronchiolitis obliterans, popcorn lung is named for factory workers who developed lung disease after breathing in heated flavoring, the study said.
"It was a relatively wild story; we have not seen something like this that often," said Dr. Tereza Martinu, a lung transplant respirologist who was part of the teen's care team and a co-author of the study.
After a 47-day hospital stay, the teen, whose identity has not been released, returned home, but still recovering, possibly with chronic lung damage.
The researchers suspected bronchiolitis after scans of his lungs showed a so-called "tree in bud" pattern: tiny nodules connected to longer bronchial "branches," but the teen's infection work-up was negative.
The study notes the researchers cannot "pathologically" confirm bronchiolitis obliterans and the team could not evaluate the specific vaping products used by the teen, health officials said it could be a likely consequence.
The doctors are calling for more research to better understand an issue that has already raised alarm around the world.
In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported 42 deaths linked to vaping and 2,172 injuries.
In Canada, there have been eight confirmed or probable cases but could not include this case possibly because of its different presentation.
"We don't want to see anybody sick, but it's quite eye-opening when it's very young people who have been previously healthy," said Dr. Simon Landman, another study co-author involved with the teen's care, and a physician at the London Health Sciences Centre.
CMAJ again called for a Canada-wide ban on flavoured vaping liquids, stricter regulations on advertising, and standards put in place on all e-cigarette products.
"These cases have occurred because of the near-complete absence of government regulations on the composition, quality, design and manufacture of e-cigarettes and e-liquids," the editorial said.
Health Canada said it will continue to monitor all available data sources and surveillance systems and take action to protect the health and safety of Canadians.