What is the pathophysiology of asphyxiation from smoke inhalation?

Updated: Oct 15, 2021
  • Author: Keith A Lafferty, MD; Chief Editor: Joe Alcock, MD, MS  more...
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Answer

Tissue hypoxia can occur via several mechanisms. Combustion in a closed space can consume significant amounts of oxygen, decreasing the ambient concentration of oxygen to as low as 10-13%. For victims in that setting, the decrease in fraction of inspired oxygen (FIO2) leads to hypoxia, even if they have adequate circulation and oxygen-carrying capacity. If sufficiently severe, hypoxia can lead to multiorgan dysfunction, which substantially raises morbidity and mortality.


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