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Canadian teen develops 'lung popcorn' injury from evaporation: report

From Stenheisen Streets

(Reuters) – Researchers in Canada have identified a new type of evaporation-related lung injury they believe is related to the aroma of a conventional wine pen, causing symptoms similar to the "lung popcorn" injury in workers exposed to it. microwave popcorn aromas.

The case, released Thursday at the Canadian Medical Association Journal, involves a 17-year-old male who developed a form of bronchiolitis, a serious and irreversible lung injury caused by chemical exposure.

The condition is linked to diacetyl, a chemical that gives microwave popcorn its taste in pulp and a known cause of bronchiolitis. Various studies have also found diacetyl in evaporating liquids.

A healthy Canadian teenager first appeared in the emergency department at a community hospital in Ontario last spring with a severe cough. He was diagnosed with pneumonia and prescribed antibiotics.

Five days later, he returned with worsening symptoms and was given and received intravenous antibiotics. It continued to decline and was put on a mechanical fan, but still failed to improve.

At that point, he was flown to the London Center for Health Sciences and placed on an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO, machine – an extreme treatment that underwent lung surgery. It stabilized, but did not reverse the situation.

"I was worried that his lungs would never recover enough to get him out of the machine," said Dr. Karen Bossma, a London-based doctor for intensive care and author of studies.

Fearing he might need a lung transplant, the team transferred the teen to a regional transplant center in Toronto. Because testing ruled out infection, doctors decided to try high-dose steroids, which helped reduce the inflammation.

The patient reported using both aromas of nicotine wines and THC – a psychoactive agent in marijuana. Doctors suspected evaporation-related injury, even before the US outbreak was reported.

Although the case has similarities to more than 2,000 cases of evaporation-related illnesses in the United States, the injury is different. Instead of damaged air bags in the lungs, the teen had damaged airways, which his doctors believe were caused by chemical injury.

"This is a new discovery," Bosma said.

Several evaporative chemicals could have caused injury, she said, but the team focused on diacetyl because it has been shown to cause similar diseases.

Four months after his release, the teen still has breathing problems. Bossma said it was unclear if the lungs would recover.

"In popcorn patients, it is irreversible."

(Reporting by ieuli Stanhusen; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

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