Vanishing lung syndrome: a consequence of mixed tobacco and marijuana use

BMJ Case Rep. 2021 May 20;14(5):e239255. doi: 10.1136/bcr-2020-239255.


Idiopathic giant bullous emphysema or vanishing lung syndrome (VLS) is a rare, chronic radiological diagnosis characterised by giant emphysematous bullae located primarily in the upper lobes of the lungs. This highly morbid phenotype of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease leads to severe progressive dyspnoea and significant disability. Here, we describe a 48-year-old man with a history significant for long-term tobacco and cannabis smoking, who is found to have VLS. We present a review of recent findings on the association between VLS and the additive effect of marijuana and tobacco.

Keywords: radiology; respiratory medicine.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Lung
  • Male
  • Marijuana Smoking* / adverse effects
  • Marijuana Use*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulmonary Emphysema* / diagnostic imaging
  • Pulmonary Emphysema* / etiology
  • Tobacco
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed