Which neurologic findings suggest 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

Neurologic and/or neuropsychiatric findings may include the following;

  • Memory disturbance (most common), including retrograde and anterograde amnesia with amnestic confabulatory states

  • Emotional lability, impaired judgment, and decreased cognitive ability

  • Stupor, coma, gait disturbance, movement disorders, and rigidity

  • Brisk reflexes, apraxia, agnosia, tic disorders, hearing and vestibular dysfunction, blindness, psychosis

Long-term exposures or severe acute exposures frequently result in long-term neuropsychiatric sequelae. Additionally, some individuals develop delayed neuropsychiatric symptoms, often after severe intoxications associated with coma.

After recovery from the initial incident, patients present several days to weeks later with neuropsychiatric symptoms such as those just described. Two thirds of patients eventually recover completely.


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