PETALING JAYA: A teenager, who was admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) for a suspected vape-related illness, has been found to suffer from serious damage to his lungs, says the Labuan Health Department.
Its director Dr Ismuni Bohari said the 17-year-old was admitted to the Labuan Hospital on Oct 4 due to severe breathing problems.
“The patient has a history of asthma. He was admitted for asthma treatment and needed a breathing aid. While in the ICU, the patient was found to have serious lung injuries and other conditions such as rhabdomyolysis and kidney failure, ” Dr Ismuni said in a statement.
Rhabdomyolysis is a serious syndrome due to direct or indirect muscle injury.
It results from the death of muscle fibres and release of their contents into the bloodstream, leading to serious complications such as renal failure.
Dr Ismuni said there were a few possibilities to explain the teenager’s condition, including infection of the lungs, autoimmune disease, exposure to chemicals and usage of vape.
“However, the real cause has yet to be determined as we are still examining his injuries and waiting for the results of the lab tests, ” he said.
Dr Ismuni said investigations also showed that the patient started vaping about two weeks before he was admitted in an attempt to stop smoking.
“The patient is recovering but still in the ICU, ” he said, urging the public to stop speculating about the cause of the teenager’s illness and to respect his privacy and that of his family.
The case attracted much attention after it was shared on social media, with some posts claiming that the teenager was suffering from vape-related illness.
The safety of vaping came into question after an outbreak of lung injuries, linked to the use of e-cigarettes and vape products, in the United States.