'A Direct, Toxic Chemical Injury': What Vaping Does to the Lungs

Previous investigations suggested that an accumulation of oil in the lungs was to blame, and many patients were diagnosed with a condition called lipoid pneumonia

Toxic chemical burns may be behind the hundreds of vaping-linked illnesses spiking across the country, according to new images of lung tissue taken from people who got sick after vaping, NBC News reports.

The images and resulting analysis from pathologists were published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The findings provide a better understanding of what's actually happening to the lungs in these cases. They're also meant to give other doctors a frame of reference for what the vaping-related lung injuries look like under a microscope, as well as help in diagnosis.

"It looks like the kind of injury that we normally see when a person is exposed to a spilled drum of toxic chemicals at their workplace," said Dr. Brandon Larsen, an author of the study and a surgical pathologist at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona. He and his team are often called upon to examine lung tissue for a second opinion, or in cases that have perplexed other physicians.

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