What is carbon monoxide (CO) toxicity?

Updated: Sep 18, 2018
  • Author: Guy N Shochat, MD; Chief Editor: Gil Z Shlamovitz, MD, FACEP  more...
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Answer

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas produced by incomplete combustion of carbonaceous material. Clinical presentation in patients with CO poisoning ranges from headache and dizziness to coma and death. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (see the image below) can significantly reduce the morbidity of CO poisoning, but a portion of survivors still suffer significant long-term neurologic and affective sequelae. [1]

Monoplace hyperbaric chamber. Courtesy JG Benitez, Monoplace hyperbaric chamber. Courtesy JG Benitez, MD, MPH.

See Clues on the Skin: Acute Poisonings, a Critical Images slideshow, to help diagnose patients based on their dermatologic presentations.


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