Carbon monoxide poisoning

Carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the most common accidental poisoning. CO has very strong binding to hemoproteins and blocks their function. It causes severe tissue hypoxia. Poisoning can result in severe neurological disability, worstly can lead to patient’s death. CO binding is reversible, well-timed and adequate therapy is necessary. 

Published at: 27.4.2016


Michal Hájek, MD, PhD
Chief of Centre of Hyperbaric Medicine, City Hospital Ostrava, Ostrava, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ostrava, Ostrava, Czech Republic Chairman of Czech Society of Hyperbaric and Aviation Medicine, Czech Medical Association of J. E. Purkyně,

Authors created an algorithm solving complicated case of carbonoxide poisoning, which is from formal and content aspect well-ballanced . The most common cause of intoxication is the inhalation of the air with toxic concentration of CO in insufficiently ventilated rooms. The carbonoxide sources are mainly some broken heating equipments. Carbonoxide poisoning cases, especially severe and complicated ones, require cooperation of many medical specialties – range from emergency medicine, through diagnostic specialities (biochemistry, radiology) to clinical specialities (pediatrics, neurology, intensive care medicine, hyperbaric medicine, obstetrics and gynaecology and others). The necessary differential diagnostics is well described in this algorithm. It is a comprehensive processing of the issue, from the acting at the scene of the accident, through processing of the received calls by dispatching emergency services to the diagnostic and therapeutic procedures in emergency and hospital. Futher the algoritm deals with definitive method of treatment with hyperbaric oxygen depending on the severity of the condition and recommended following examinations after hospital discharge. Also there are demonstrated possible dangerous effects of carbon monoxide on certain organ systems, especially the CNS and the cardiovascular system. Finally authors try to highlight the issue of dealing with specific groups of patients as pre-school children and pregnant patients.


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