Trending Clinical Topic: EVALI

Ryan Syrek


October 25, 2019

Each week, we identify one top search term, speculate as to what caused its popularity, and provide an infographic on a related condition. If you have thoughts about what's trending and why, feel free to share them with us on Twitter or Facebook.

Widespread concern about lung injuries related to e-cigarette, or vaping, product use has again resulted in a top trending clinical topic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has introduced the term "EVALI" to describe these lung illnesses and injuries. The CDC also provided updated guidance for initial assessment and evaluation of patients, criteria for hospital admission and treatment, and information regarding follow-up. In early October, the number of confirmed and probable cases of EVALI crossed over 1000 in the United States and US Virgin Islands alone. Recent pathology data revealed that EVALI is probably a result of direct toxicity or tissue damage caused by noxious chemical fumes, as opposed to an accumulation of lipids in the lungs.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has launched a criminal investigation into the possible causes of EVALI. No one product or brand has been consistently identified or conclusively linked to the condition. The FDA is analyzing 150 vaping product samples, while their Office of Criminal Investigations has begun a parallel investigation to help identify what specifically is resulting in EVALI. The scrutiny has also gone global, as the vaping industry's use of practices similar to the tobacco industry was a focus at the European Respiratory Society 2019 International Congress.

Above all else, sharing information about the dangers of vaping appears to be key. A recent survey showed that many US young adults—the group among which e-cigarettes are most popular—believe that the products are harmless. Hopefully, the fact that EVALI was this week's top trending clinical topic is a sign that crucial information is being circulated.

Read more about inhalation injuries similar to EVALI.


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