Doctors have warned about the danger of e-cigarettes after a Dublin man needed a skin graft on his chest because a faulty device leaked in his pocket.
Medics at the Mater Hospital provided details of the case in the October issue of the Irish Medical Journal.
Staff at the hospital's Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery said the 60-year-old's serious injury needed in-patient admission and treatment.
The man had attended an emergency department at another hospital due to the sudden onset of chest pain.
When he was asked to loosen his shirt for clinical assessment, he noticed a wound on the left of his chest and that his shirt was wet in the same area.
"Once his clothing had been removed, the pain eased and the diagnosis of a burn was confirmed," doctors wrote in their report.
The man told staff in the hospital he had been carrying an e-cigarette in his left breast pocket.
"It had inadvertently activated and the e-liquid had leaked from the device, causing a burn," the report said.
The man was discharged with a dressing and into the care of his GP.
However, his wound deteriorated and he was referred to the Depart- ment of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in the Mater.
Surgeons there excised the wound and re-surfaced it using skin from the man's left thigh. Four weeks later, both the chest and donor wounds had healed fully.
Doctors said the leak "was likely the result of a fault in the product and a mixture of both chemical and thermal burns".
The medics said they caution patients over the way they carry e-cigarettes, especially when there is a risk of direct contact with skin. They recommend people should use an insulated protective case.
Malfunctions in electronic cigarette devices have resulted in other reported injuries, some severe and others even resulting in death.