Danger in the vapor? ECMO for adolescents with status asthmaticus after vaping.
Introduction: Electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) use is on the rise in the adolescent and young adult populations, especially in the wake of sweet flavored ENDS solutions and youth-targeted marketing. While the extent of effect of ENDS use and aerosolized flavorings on airway epithelium is not known, there remains significant concern that use of ENDS adversely affects airway epithelial function, particularly in populations with asthma. Case Study: In this case series, we review two cases of adolescents with history of recent and past ENDS use and asthma who required veno-venous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VV-ECMO) for status asthmaticus in the year 2018. Results: Both patients experienced hypercarbic respiratory failure requiring VV-ECMO secondary to their status asthmaticus, with slow recovery on extensive bronchodilator and steroid regimens. They both recovered back to respiratory baseline and were counseled extensively on cessation of ENDS use. Conclusion: While direct causation by exposure to ENDS cannot be determined, exposure likely contributed to symptoms. Based on the severity of these cases and their potential relationship with ENDS use, we advocate for increased physician screening of adolescents for ENDS use, patient and parent education on the risks of use, and family cessation counseling.