PENNSYLVANIA — A Pennsylvania woman developed hypersensitivity pneumonitis, otherwise known as "wet lung", after using e-cigarettes.
E-cigarettes work by heating liquid that turns into vapor, which the user then inhales and exhales, much like when one smokes a cigarette.
The liquids usually contain flavorings, propylene glycol, glycerin and often nicotine.
An 18-year-old Pennsylvania woman had only been vaping for three weeks when she developed symptoms so severe that she was sent to the emergency room of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, CNN reports.
In a study published in the journal Pediatrics, Dr. Casey Sommerfeld of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, who was part of the study, says chemicals in an e-cigarette may have triggered a patient's body to create an immune response, leading to lung damage and inflammation.
Sommerfeld said the immune response in the patient led to increased inflammation and "leaky" blood vessels, which in turn can lead to fluid accumulation in the lungs.
The teenager exhibited symptoms of coughing, difficulty breathing that was quickly getting worse, and sudden stabbing pains in her chest every time she inhaled or exhaled.
When her condition worsened and she went into respiratory failure, she required a mechanical ventilator to breathe for her, and required tubes inserted on both sides of her chest to drain fluid from her lungs.
The woman's condition was diagnosed as hypersensitivity pneumonitis, sometimes called "wet lung", which is an inflammation of the lungs due to an allergic reaction to chemicals or dust."
After being treated with methylprednisolone, a drug used to treat severe allergic reactions, the woman's condition improved and she was taken off the mechanical support system five days after being admitted to the hospital, CNN reported.