What is the role of neuropsychologic testing in the evaluation of 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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Neuropsychologic testing

Formal neuropsychologic testing of concentration, fine motor function, and problem solving consistently reveal subtle deficits in even mildly poisoned patients.

Abridged versions of these tests are available that can be performed in about 30 minutes by a well-trained examiner. These are more applicable to the emergency department (ED) setting. These tests have been developed as possible means to assess the risk of delayed neurologic sequelae, to assess the need for hyperbaric oxygen therapy, and to determine the success of hyperbaric therapy in preventing delayed sequelae. The tests are used in some institutions, but studies prospectively confirming the conclusions are lacking.

Research indicates a specific link to deficits in context-aided memory in CO poisoing.Use of such specific testing in the ED has been proposed, as a tool for measuring the severity of neurologic involvement.

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