CT Findings and Patterns of e-Cigarette or Vaping Product Use-Associated Lung Injury: A Multicenter Cohort of 160 Cases

Seth J. Kligerman, Fernando U. Kay, Constantine A. Raptis, Travis S. Henry, Jacob W. Sechrist, Christopher M. Walker, Daniel Vargas, Peter D. Filev, Michael S. Chung, Subba R. Digumarthy, Alan M. Ropp, Tan Lucien Mohammed, Kristen W. Pope, Kaitlin M. Marquis, Jonathan H. Chung, Jeffrey P. Kanne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Background: e-Cigarette or vaping-induced lung injury (EVALI) causes a spectrum of CT lung injury patterns. Relative frequencies and associations with vaping behavior are unknown. Research Question: What are the frequencies of imaging findings and CT patterns in EVALI and what is the relationship to vaping behavior? Study Design and Methods: CT scans of 160 subjects with EVALI from 15 institutions were retrospectively reviewed. CT findings and patterns were defined and agreed on via consensus. The parenchymal organizing pneumonia (OP) pattern was defined as regional or diffuse ground-glass opacity (GGO) ± consolidation without centrilobular nodules (CNs). An airway-centered OP pattern was defined as diffuse CNs with little or no GGO, whereas a mixed OP pattern was a combination of the two. Other patterns included diffuse alveolar damage (DAD), acute eosinophilic-like pneumonia, and pulmonary hemorrhage. Cases were classified as atypical if they did not fit into a pattern. Imaging findings, pattern frequencies, and injury severity were correlated with substance vaped (marijuana derives [tetrahydrocannabinol] [THC] only, nicotine derivates only, and both), vaping frequency, regional geography, and state recreational THC legality. One-way analysis of variance, χ2 test, and multivariable analyses were used for statistical analysis. Results: A total of 160 patients (79.4% men) with a mean age of 28.2 years (range, 15-68 years) with EVALI underwent CT scan. Seventy-seven (48.1%), 15 (9.4%), and 68 (42.5%) patients admitted to vaping THC, nicotine, or both, respectively. Common findings included diffuse or lower lobe GGO with subpleural (78.1%), lobular (59.4%), or peribronchovascular (PBV) sparing (40%). Septal thickening (50.6%), lymphadenopathy (63.1%), and CNs (36.3%) were common. PBV sparing was associated with younger age (P =.02). Of 160 subjects, 156 (97.5%) had one of six defined patterns. Parenchymal, airway-centered, and mixed OP patterns were seen in 89 (55.6%), 14 (8.8%), and 32 (20%) patients, respectively. Acute eosinophilic-like pneumonia (six of 160, 3.8%), DAD (nine of 160, 5.6%), pulmonary hemorrhage (six of 160, 3.8%), and atypical (four of 160, 2.5%) patterns were less common. Increased vaping frequency was associated with more severe injury (P =.008). Multivariable analysis showed a negative association between vaping for > 6 months and DAD pattern (P =.03). Two subjects (1.25%) with DAD pattern died. There was no relation between pattern and injury severity, geographic location, and state legality of recreational use of THC. Interpretation: EVALI typically causes an OP pattern but exists on a spectrum of acute lung injury. Vaping habits do not correlate with CT patterns except for negative correlation between vaping > 6 months and DAD pattern. PBV sparing, not previously described in acute lung injury, is a common finding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1492-1511
Number of pages20
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • CT scan
  • e-cigarette
  • lung injury
  • vaping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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