Lifestyle

Chronic conditions, obesity common in fatal cases of EVALI

Chronic conditions, including asthma, mental health conditions, and obesity, are common among fatal cases of e-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injury (EVALI), according to a study published in the April 23 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Angela K. Werner, Ph.D., from the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion in Atlanta, and colleagues compared the characteristics of patients with fatal and nonfatal EVALI.

The researchers found that men comprised most fatal and nonfatal cases of EVALI (32 of 60 [53 percent] and 1,666 of 2,498 [67 percent], respectively). The proportion of patients with fatal or nonfatal cases was higher among non-Hispanic whites versus other race or ethnic groups (80 and 61 percent, respectively). The proportion of patients with fatal cases was higher among those aged 35 years or older (73 percent), while the proportion of nonfatal cases was lower among those aged 35 years or older (22 percent). A higher proportion of fatal than nonfatal cases was seen among those with a history of asthma (23 versus 8 percent), cardiac disease (47 versus 10 percent), or a mental health condition (65 versus 41 percent). About half (52 percent) of fatal cases had obesity.

“About half the patients in this series were seen at least once in an outpatient setting before their final hospital admission; earlier diagnosis and appropriate treatment may have improved outcomes,” the authors write.