Missouri man dies from vaping-related illness — 1st in state, 8th nationwide

Health officials say he had a history of vaping, but normal lung function prior to starting vaping in May 2019.

Digital Content Producer
September 19, 2019 - 4:02 pm

ST. LOUIS (KFTK) - A Missouri man has died due to his use of e-cigarettes, reports the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS). The man was in his mid-40s and had "no prior lung illness" before he started vaping to fight "chronic pain issues."

This is the first vaping-related death in Missouri and the eighth nationwide. He died this week at Mercy Hospital St. Louis.

Related: Michigan bans flavored e-cigarettes a day after New York

DHSS released information on the man's death, stating he had a history of vaping, but normal lung function prior to starting vaping in May 2019. He developed mild respiratory symptoms that worsened, leading to hospitalization on Aug. 22 before being transferred to Mercy St. Louis on Sept. 4.

"This is an unfortunate case of a young man with no prior lung illness who started vaping because of chronic pain issues," said medical director of Mercy’s extracorporeal membrane oxygenation program, Dr. Michael Plisco. "He started out with shortness of breath and it rapidly progressed and deteriorated, developing into what is called acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Once the lungs are injured by vaping, we don’t know how quickly it worsens and if it depends on other risk factors."

Related: Government, Trump plans to ban flavors used in e-cigarettes

DHSS reports, the man’s lungs were unable to provide enough gas exchange, leading to heart failure and near cardiac arrest. He was emergently placed on venoarterial ECMO in an effort to support his heart and rest his lungs.

"Due to the nature of this critical illness, acute respiratory distress syndrome ultimately led to his death," Dr. Plisco said.

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