Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Etiology

  • Exposure to high levels CO
  • Binds strongly to hemoglobin, displacing oxygen

Risk Factors

  • Young, old
  • Winter months w/exposure to heaters in closed spaces/poor ventilation
  • Tasteless & odorless so hard to notice w/o CO detector
  • Chronic heart and/or lung disease

Symptoms

  • Headaches, weakness, N, V, Sob/DOE
  • Altered mental status to unconscious
  • Worse when in that environment → better outside
  • Others w/similar sx who live/work in same place

Physical Exam Findings

  • Sometimes tachycardia, hypertension, tachypnea
  • Normal O2 sat (pulse ox mis-reads carboxyhemoglobin as oxyhemoglobin
  • Sometimes altered mental status, severe illness, death

Tests