On the Site:


Utah Doctors Issued Treatment Guide For Vaping-Related Illness

Nov 8, 2019, 8:44 PM

MURRAY, Utah — A task force at Intermountain Healthcare has completed the largest study yet of the puzzling vaping-related illness and developed a treatment guide for doctors.

The study was published in Friday’s issue of The Lancet, one of the world’s best-known and most prestigious peer-reviewed medical journals.

The lung injury diagnosis and treatment guidelines they developed are based on the cumulative clinical experience of treating more than 60 patients throughout the health system’s 24 hospitals and 215 clinics.

“There’s a lot that’s unknown about this disease,” said Dr. Denitza Blagev, a pulmonologist with Intermountain Healthcare. “It’s brand new. We’re sharing our experience and helping people.”

The treatment guidelines are the first to be published, at a time when doctors are still seeing four to five new cases of vaping-associated lung illness in Utah each week.

The first guidelines for treatment are critical for vaping-associated lung illness patients across the country.

The study was based on more than 60 patients across the Intermountain Healthcare system.

“The majority of them have vaped THC, although, there are definitely patients who have only vaped nicotine,” Blagev said.

She also said there’s no obvious source for the illness nor a single shop or batch of vaping cartridges that are making vapers sick.

Dr. Dixie Harris, another pulmonologist on the vaping task force, discovered the arrival of the illness in Utah in August.

“This was very early, so we didn’t even know about this process, this outbreak,” she said.

In a matter of days, Harris connected the symptoms of four patients through their telehealth system.

When she looked at their chest x-rays, she could tell something was damaging the victims’ lungs.

“The only part of this lung that is mostly normal is the very top part which is this black area,” she said, looking at the x-ray. “The air sacs, which are supposed to be full of air, now are full of other substances: cells, inflammation, fluid, and are not able to do their job to deliver oxygen into the bloodstream.”

Harris said whatever is in the vapor is collecting in the lungs, crowding out the air.

“There is no safe thing to vape anywhere, at this time. It’s not just THC. We’ve seen it in nicotine. People that have been vaping for years and years have gotten sick,” Blagev said.

The pulmonologists with this task force developed a tiered treatment approach with steroids based on the seriousness of the vaping related illness. They are the first to report patient improvement from the care.

Doctors still do not know what is causing the illness and said right now, no vaping is safe.

In the study, 80% of patients had vaped THC and nicotine while 20% reported vaping nicotine only.

“The best way to prevent both e-cigarette or vaping lung injury and its complications and the risk of relapse is to not to vape at this point anything. There is nothing that has been shown to be safe to vape,” Blagev said.

“We’re still seeing ongoing cases. It’s continuing every week, we’re reporting more cases to the department of health,” Harris said.

Nationally, there have been 2,051 cases and 39 deaths caused by vaping-associated lung illness; in Utah, 109 cases have been confirmed while another seven are under investigation as of Oct. 28.

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

(KSL TV)...

Mike Anderson

Beaver Mountain welcomes storm as it prepares for winter season

At Beaver Mountain, workers and preseason skiers and snowboarders are anticipating heavy snowfall this weekend.

7 minutes ago

Repair shop security camera footage (KSL TV)...

Garna Mejia

Beloved family car stolen in Cottonwood Heights

A family in Cottonwood Heights is offering a $250 reward for the recovery of their stolen 1995 Acura Integra.

35 minutes ago

Jordan Thorpe scrapes snow off his windshield after the first snow of the season in the valley in S...

Emma Benson

Winter driving tips to stay safe on the roads

Last weekend's Thanksgiving storm caused more than 100 crashes throughout the state, so officials are urging drivers to be extremely cautious in these conditions.

38 minutes ago

The Peaks Ice Arena in Provo, Utah Jan. 2001. (Deseret News/Ravell Call)...

Lindsay Aerts

Peak’s Ice Arena in Provo to get Olympic upgrades

With the Olympics of 2034 focused largely in Salt Lake, the venues outside of the downtown will also need some attention.

2 hours ago

Salt Lake City Police patrol car (Salt Lake City Police Department, file photo)...

Luke Seaver

Salt Lake police report dramatic fall in car thefts and car burglaries

The Salt Lake City Police Department issued a press release Friday highlighting statistics that indicate a significant reduction in stolen cars and car break-ins.

2 hours ago

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill on Friday released additional details about two justifi...

Pat Reavy, KSL.com

Additional details on 2 Utah officer-involved shootings released

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill reaffirmed Friday that officers involved in two unrelated shootings were legally justified in using deadly force, and also provided more details about each investigation.

2 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Design mockup half in white and half in color of luxury house interior with open plan living room a...

Lighting Design

Lighting Design 101: Learn the Basics

These lighting design basics will help you when designing your home, so you can meet both practical and aesthetic needs.

an antler with large horns int he wilderness...

Three Bear Lodge

Yellowstone in the Fall: A Wildlife Spectacle Worth Witnessing

While most people travel to this park in the summer, late fall in Yellowstone provides a wealth of highlights to make a memorable experience.

a diverse group of students raising their hands in a classroom...

Little Orchard Preschool

6 Benefits of Preschool for Kids

Some of the benefits of preschool for kids include developing independence, curiosity, and learning more about the world.

Utah Doctors Issued Treatment Guide For Vaping-Related Illness