Scans show vaping teen’s lungs blocked with solidified oil

Vaping has been tied to many cases of severe lung disease, and some of the suspected cases have died. Doctors and health experts are looking for the exact cause of the illness, and now a new finding emerged, hinting that vaping could lead to deposits of what looked like oil in the lungs.

In a 19-year-old Pennsylvania teen who vaped for nearly two years, the symptoms of severe lung disease began when he started struggling to breathe and feeling sick. At first, the doctor diagnosed Anthony Mayo with bronchitis. He was sent home, but his condition didn’t improve.

In fact, Anthony felt worse and returned to the hospital after a few days. The doctors admitted him in the intensive care unit (ICU) because his condition drastically declined.

The teen is now fighting for his life due to the damage in his lungs caused by vaping. His lungs were so damaged from vaping that they were almost blocked with solidified vaping oils, which the doctors compared to hardened bacon grease.

Image Credit: Amani A / Shutterstock
Image Credit: Amani A / Shutterstock

Solidified oils in the lungs

When Anthony was admitted into the ICU of Millcreek Community, the doctors performed a series of examinations to determine the cause of his mysterious illness. They found that both his lungs were congested, and his oxygen levels are rapidly depleting.

“Left lung is about 80% congested and right is about 50%, O2 level was 37! According to the doctor, this is showing areas that have essentially solidified like bacon grease. The pulmonary doctor said he had seen dead people with a higher O2 level,” Tanya Marie, the boy’s mother, posted on her Facebook.

The doctors said that Anthony’s case needs to be reported to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the vape oil or chemical he had been using has been sent for testing. His case is the first in Pennsylvania, and now, doctors said he has the lungs of a 70-year-old lifetime heavy smoker.

Keith Mayo, Anthony’s father, posted that the doctors described what happened in the lungs of his son.

“Imagine cooking bacon on the stove. It smells delicious. It tastes wonderful. When you’re done cooking, eventually you have to clean up. Well when you decide to clean up, there is white bacon grease all over. Places besides the stove. Well this flavored oil in vapes is your bacon grease. The lungs are your kitchen. Unfortunately, you can't just go in and wipe everything down. It builds up until (like my son) it chokes off the airflow,” Keith posted.

At the moment, Anthony is still confined in the ICU but has gradually shown progress. It is still unclear, however, if he will make a full recovery and how long he will stay in the hospital.

Growing number of vaping-related severe lung disease cases

Since August, many doctors have reported cases of mysterious lung disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are investigating a multistate outbreak of lung injury linked to the use of e-cigarette products.

Currently, there are 530 cases of lung injury spanning 38 states and in one territory in the country. In six states, there were seven deaths. All the reported cases had a history of vaping or using e-cigarettes.

Many people use e-cigarettes as a substitute for cigarette smoking. However, it became immensely popular among teens and adolescents. About 3.7 percent of adults used e-cigarettes every day or some days.

The CDC recommends that people refrain from using an e-cigarette or vaping products. Young adults and teens should not use the device because of the risks linked to its use. Also, the CDC recommends that users should report their symptoms as soon as they appear. These include the difficulty of breathing, chest pain, coughing, or shortness of breath. In some cases, patients experienced nausea, vomiting, fever, diarrhea and weight loss.

Angela Betsaida B. Laguipo

Written by

Angela Betsaida B. Laguipo

Angela is a nurse by profession and a writer by heart. She graduated with honors (Cum Laude) for her Bachelor of Nursing degree at the University of Baguio, Philippines. She recently completed a Master's Degree where she specialized in Maternal and Child Nursing and is now working as a clinical instructor and educator in the School of Nursing at the University of Baguio.

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