Overview of pathologic findings of vaping in the context of an autopsy patient with chronic injury

David S. Priemer, Curtis Gravenmier, Amir Batouli, Jody E. Hooper

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Context.-Electronic cigarettes are handheld devices that heat an inner liquid containing chemicals to be aerosolized and inhaled, and have become a popular alternative to conventional cigarettes. Their use, termed vaping, has been linked to severe injury, with 2711 cases of associated lung injury and 60 deaths reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at the time of writing. Published case reports and series have emerged detailing clinical and imaging characteristics of vaping-induced lung injury. However, the pathologic characteristics of these induced injuries are still being established, particularly findings occurring over time. Objective.-To illustrate the autopsy findings of an older patient who died of vaping-induced injury after prolonged symptomology and to provide a review of the most recent literature regarding the basic science, epidemiology, clinical presentation, imaging characteristics, and pathology of vaping-induced lung injury. Data Sources.-Autopsy case and peer-reviewed literature. Conclusions.-Vaping-induced lung injury has emerged as a public health issue, and this case represents a rare opportunity to evaluate this issue at autopsy. Most commonly, the injury has been attributed to tetrahydrocannabinol product use as opposed to nicotine. This case demonstrates that as today's young and relatively healthy ''vapers'' grow older and develop the comorbidities that come with advanced age, there is serious risk of chronic lung damage from vaping that could result in death. Further observations and studies, particularly autopsy evidence, are clearly important to understand the possible outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1408-1413
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Medical Laboratory Technology


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