A team at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit has performed what it believes to be the first double lung transplant in the United States for a patient whose lungs were injured by vaping.
Details will be provided at a press conference Tuesday, according to an announcement from Henry Ford Health Systems. The patient will not be identified, the bulletin said, but “he and his family would like his medical team to share photographs and an update to warn others.”
Lung transplants are relatively uncommon, with about 2,000 performed annually in the United States compared to some 18,000 kidney transplants. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute reports survival rates of nearly 80 percent after one year and more than 50 percent after five years, with slightly more success for double lung transplant patients: a median survival rate of 6.6 years, compared to 4.6 years for single lung recipients.
E-cigarettes have been tied to 39 fatalities and more than 2,000 lung injuries in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). One of the deaths came in Michigan, where Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has asked the courts to reinstate her ban on flavored vaping products.
The Whitmer administration began enforcing the ban in early October, contending that an increase in young people using e-cigarettes constituted a health emergency. Responding to a lawsuit by vape shop owners, Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens ordered a halt to the restriction.
While Michigan was the first state to take action against flavorings, New York and Rhode Island have taken similar steps.
President Donald Trump has said he is considering a ban on flavored vaping, and that the White House will issue a ‘’big paper’’ on the subject this week. He tweeted Monday that he’ll be ‘’meeting with representatives of the Vaping industry, together with medical professionals and individual state representatives, to come up with an acceptable solution to the Vaping and e-cigarette dilemma.’’
The CDC said last week that it had identified a ‘’potential toxin of concern’’ in the vaping-related cases, a gummy syrup called vitamin E acetate that is sometimes added to vaping products containing THC, the chemical responsible for most of marijuana’s psychological effects.
Vitamin E acetate is not outlawed under Michigan’s medical marijuana program. Cannabis industry representatives have told The Detroit News they would support its prohibition.